“I am the LORD thy God,…Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:2-3.
Deuteronomy 13:6, 9-10 (ESV), “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’… you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the LORD your God”.
In the Old Testament, idol worship was punishable by death. Idol worship is essentially demon worship. It is evil.
In the New Testament, a broader definition of idols is explained. Worldly positions, powers, things can all be idols. John said, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). A worldly spirit with its ideas are designed by Satan.
Another idol is one’s self. When we pay much attention to our pleasures like art, sports, or clothing, these things may draw us away from God. Although some pleasures may not be inherently evil, our hearts may become more and more drawn to those things. Remember Jesus’s words, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 (ESV).
We may also idolize an individual or a Christian leader. This too is wrong. Jesus instructed, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37 (ESV). God and Jesus must be first.
Finally, we may desire the fellowship of a church or a group of friends above purity of doctrine. We must never bend God’s principles.
In summary, idols distract us from God and Jesus. We are living in the “hour of temptation” (Revelation 3:10) where many, many things may fill our lives with distractions. Serve God first, and all the rest of our lives will be ordered by God’s love.