I'm reading a book called Gods at War, by Kyle Idleman. In this book, Kyle talks about the idols in our lives. He cuts through the, "I don't make idols argument" pretty quickly and really exposes us for who we are...I should say who I am.
I'm also reading through the Bible right now and passed through Exodus 20 a few days ago. It was a painful read. It was a painful read because I know I have idols in my life...things I'm willing to pursue with all my might that aren't God.
I have a thriving career, for the most part, that takes considerable energy, particularly as I heal from an injury so I can move on to the next chapter in said career. Furthermore, I love my hobby of writing, and from it I have (until now) hoped for some manner of recognition; from preaching as well. There are others as well.
These are, in some ways, little gods unto themselves, and they fight for my attention. However, what it really boils down to is that I am my own little god. My desire for an ever-expanding career, and looking forward to a second career after I retire (in six years) are wrapped up in the rat race that God tells me not to be concerned about. My writing, which should be used only as a ministry to others and a support for the Kingdom, has become an end unto itself. In some ways, preaching became this as well.
Food of course, for those who know me, is also a mess in my life, or rather it makes my life a mess. I worship food. There, I said it. Need I say more? There is more to say. I will refrain.
But in the end, these are just little gods, any of whom could be smashed if they weren't wrapped up in a slightly bigger, but still so small, god called me. I am a little god, and I worship myself too often and it costs me too much. I want to be famous to celebrate me. I want to be known as the best Chief in the Navy. I want to be more than an aspiring writer...I want to be a best-selling writer. It's all about me! ME! ME!
John the Baptist once said that, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Jesus said John was greater than all born of women. And yet being least in the kingdom meant being greater than John. That's an odd way to look at it, but when you're fighting gods, it might just be the best way. Christ must increase, and I must decrease. I must be the least in the kingdom, though it isn't a race to become so. That in itself could promote the same god-worship that I'm trying to destroy.
In some ways, it's a mess. Thankfully, in his book, Idleman makes it pretty simple. Simply ask yourself who you're going to worship...God, or one of the little gods. That has helped me immensely. I hope it helps you too!