How to Tear Down Your Idols | 3 Tips for Forsaking Idols and Turning to God

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Our hearts are constantly making idols out of things that were never meant to be worshiped. We are created to worship and glorify God, but we must tear down our idols in order to do that. Learn 3 tips for tearing down idols and turning to God today.

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Every time I hear the word "idols" mentioned, I cringe. I dread that word because I hate what it reminds me of. My heart is an idol factory, as John Calvin famously said, and I know that all too well.

I feel the sting of the idol-factory reference long before it is quoted, because I know that I have so many idols I'm battling. The coffee I cling to every early morning, the salty chips and sweet ice cream I turn to when I'm stressed, and the Netflix-binge that dulls my mind when I just want to turn off the world. I cling to my husband to tell me I am beautiful and tell me who I am, and I grasp at the approval of others to give me worth.

All of these are idols - idols that I have long-since recognized and halfheartedly turned from, only to return again. None of them are inherently bad; I still claim that coffee is a heavenly gift, y'all! But to find my comfort in them, as I so often do, is sinful.

God calls us to repent of our idols and turn to Him. He longs for us to believe that He is the God of all comfort, goodness, and peace, and He longs for us to live that out in our lives.

So how do we combat the idols that bombard us and vie for our attention? How do we enjoy the gifts of God without making them ultimate? I have a few ideas.

How to tear down your idols.

Pray | Ask God to Help You Tear Down Your Idols

Though prayer is often the thing I struggle most with, it is also a vital part of tearing down our idols. We need God every minute of every day, and we need to be in communion with Him, asking Him to help us on this journey.

We should ask God to put our idols in their proper places. To reveal our idols to us when they appear, and to help us repent immediately. We should ask God to teach us how to enjoy the gifts He has given without propping them up as an idol in our lives. And we should ask Him to tear down the idols that have no place in our lives at all. Ultimately, we should ask God to restructure the desires, intentions, and priorities of our hearts.

Scripture | Focus on the Truth in God's Word

I've always been drawn to the parts of scripture that tell me how to live. I've said many times, "Just tell me what to do, and I'll do it. Give me the rules, and I'll try to follow them. That's why I like the epistles."

Obviously, there's nothing wrong with reading the parts of scripture that teach us how to live. We need those truths constantly. But my focus here is very wrong. Though God calls me to live obediently and will give me His strength to do so, He also calls me to gaze upon His character, see His goodness, His holiness, His mighty power, and to trust in who He is far more than in my own, faltering ability to obey Him.

I came across an article by Well-Watered Women that explains our need for scripture in the fight against idolatry so well:

"By focusing on the character of God revealed in His Word, I show my heart the worthlessness of the things of the world I’m tempted to worship. When I understand that He is the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3–4), I realize the futility of turning to TV or food to comfort me. When I see that He provides me deep, soul rest from my striving (Matthew 11:28–30), it puts the desire for physical rest in its proper place. When I realize that everything good comes from Him, and apart from Him I have nothing (Psalm 16:2, 11), it reminds me that true joy can only be found abiding in Him." -Well-Watered Women

The Word of God tells us who we should worship, why we should worship Him, and who He is. When we run to the Word of God, when we ingest it for ourselves, and consume it with urgency, we find the God who satisfies. We see clearly that our spouse, our friend, our coffee, and our Netflix binge will never fulfill us. These things may be enjoyable, but they are not meant to be made into an all-satisfying, all-sustaining diet. Only God can fill that role.

Act | Actively Work to Improve

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live a new life. If we walk by God's Spirit - if we actively live by it - we will produce good fruit through the power of God (Galatians 5:16-17,25). Though we will never be perfect in this earthly life, that is no excuse for us to live in our idols without repentance. We must constantly surrender our idols to God and live in step with the Spirit instead of giving in to our sinful nature.

Remember, tearing down idols is not of our own strength - it's through the power of the God who raised Jesus from the dead! It's a futile mission without Him, but with Him on our side, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

So make sure you are doing your part in smashing your idols. Work to improve through the power of the Lord. Ask for His help and His guidance. Gaze upon Him in His word. And Walk in step with the Spirit as you actively try to live a life that is free from the bondage of idols.

God will give you strength as you trust in Him (Isaiah 40:29-31)!

Bible Verse. Psalm 16:2, English Standard Version

How to Tear Down Your Idols

  1.  Ask God to Help You Tear Down Your Idols
  2.  Focus on the Truth in God's Word
  3.  Actively Work to Improve

How to tear down your idols.


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