How to Spot and Get Rid of Idols in Your Life

By: Bethany Baird

Ashley had grown to dread hanging out with her friends. She hated the thoughts that flooded her mind every time she met up with them.

What if they don’t like my hair?

What if they think my outfit looks stupid?

What if they don’t get my jokes?

On and on the thoughts continued. Ashley tried her best to curl her hair perfectly, paint her nails just right and wear the cutest outfits, but nothing seemed to work.

Ashley’s desperate desire to be completely loved and accepted by her friends was turning her into a sad and depressed young lady.

Ashley thought that if she could only gain the constant love and approval of her friends she would be happy.

Ashley’s friends had become an idol in her life. She never did find the fulfillment that she was looking for in her friends. She had big groups of friends, small groups of friends, and some really close girl friends. But nothing ever satisfied.

The Problem: Ashley was placing her friends up on a pedestal and looking for unconditional love and security in them. She was asking her friends to give her something that only God is able to give.

The Solution: The Bible is very clear that God is the source of all lasting pleasure and joy. When we fill ourselves with His Word and spend time through prayer in His presence, we will have the satisfaction we long for.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Despite our circumstances God has offered us fullness of Joy.

It’s up to each one of us to decide where we will find our joy. If we choose earthly pleasures, we will never find true satisfaction. If we choose Christ, we will have the lasting joy we desire.

Here is a test to help you search your own heart and determine whether you are looking to Christ or earthly things to bring you happiness. Are you saying anything like, “If only I had _______, then I’d be happy?”

  • If only I were prettier then I’d be happy.
  • If only I were popular then I’d be happy.
  • If only I were thinner then I’d be happy.
  • If only I had a boyfriend then I’d be happy.
  • If only I had a good singing voice then I’d be happy.
  • If only I were taller then I’d be happy.
  • If only I were shorter then I’d be happy.
  • If only I had brown hair then I’d be happy.
  • If only I had blonde hair then I’d be happy.
  • If only I had a puppy then I’d be happy.

Do any of those resonate with you? Those things aren’t bad in and of themselves.

The problem comes when we look to those things for fulfillment instead of to Christ.

When those things become our source for fulfillment, they become idols in our lives.

The only way to break free from our idols is to surrender those things to the Lord. Ask God to help you to live by truth rather than by feelings. Ask Him to help you study His Word to find out where true contentment really comes from.

I also want to recommend a book that has helped me tons with this topic. It’s a book titled Idols of the Heart by Elyse Fitzparick. If you want to learn how to desire God above everything and anyone else, then this is the book for you. I read it last year and it had a dramatic impact on my life. I highly recommend it.

Leave me a comment below!

  • In what ways are you currently looking to something (or someone) other than God for satisfaction?
  • What are you doing about surrendering that idol to God?

Photo Credit: Here 


images images images
  • Elisabeth

    I suffer with this stuff Alot!!

  • Joanna

    Thanks so much for this great post!

  • Ellen

    Wow! Thanking the Lord for this-just in the past couple days I’ve realized that I’ve been trying to depend on my recent relationship to keep me happy because I’ve noticed that I tend to be very mopey and unhappy when I can’t spend time with my boyfriend. This was so convicting! Thank you so much!

  • Cait

    An idol in my life is instagram and its funny y’all wrote this because I’m taking a break from Instagram this week. Y’alls live stream on there the other night with Bethany is partly what inspired me to do this. Thank y’all for what you do and I know God will bring me closer to him this so as I give up Instagram.

  • Leah Lewis

    I have really been struggling with food as an idol. Trying to determine what is healthiest to eat constantly consumes my thoughts throughout the day. I want to be healthy to serve the Lord, but I know my near obsession goes deeper than that. I’ve set these standards for myself saying that I will be happy if I stick to my designated eating plan. However, I’ve found that this desire is an idol in my life and that I am struggling with the sin of self-sufficient thinking and legalism. I have been finding my fulfillment in my own made up standards and have been relying on myself instead of constantly being sustained by the Lord. Thanks for the great reminder to make the Lord first in our lives and that only He can fill us with true joy!

    • Jasmine Blanton

      I struggle with this as well Leah! I know we aren’t suppose to live by bread alone, but all I can think about during the fast is food. I see why God told me to fast from good because it’s what I prize the most. We are suppose to let his word fill us up, I guess we’ve both looked to food got so long that we won’t allow his word to fill us.

  • Brianne

    Lately, my body, weight, and prettiness have been borderline idols. They’re not yet, but almost, and I have to be extremely careful not to get too prideful in my appearance. Currently, 3 guys like me that I know about, and I know I’ll never marry any of them. I need to make sure not to lead them on or let it go to my head. I’ve been dressing up more as well, because I like fashion a lot, so I have to make sure to keep humble about that too. Thanks for this amazing post!! 🙂

  • keli schroeder

    I struggle with wanting a boyfriend and more friends. Deep down I know a boyfriend wont bring happiness, but I see all these cute couples and I get envious. I also tend to place my worth and popularity in friendships and I feel like since I do not have many close friends, I cant be happy like others who do have a ton of friends even though it comes with drama and friendships cannot satisfy, I still sometimes buy into the lies satan tells me.
    I pray and ask God to rid me of my desires and use me where I am right now.

  • Tara

    Getting good grades is an idol in my life. I somehow began to tie how I viewed myself based on how high my grades are and I realize that I began to compare my intelligence to other persons and I also began to think of myself as being superior to my classmates. When I do my praise and worship routine, I’m able to think clearly and put things into perspective. I still struggle with it, but I actively work to remain humble and help those in need instead of competing.

  • Anna

    I have had this life long battle with trying to please people. I found that my worth and value was solely coming from the approval and the affirmation of others. Seeking their approval, became an idol in my life. As I was taking great strides to please the world or to please whoever was in front of me at that moment, I found that it only made me more insecure and only left me feeling even more unsatisfied. I have to really place my trust in God every day and remind myself that God’s love is so much greater than any amount approval that the world can give me. In those moments that I feel down or isolated from the world, I remind myself that God has called me to be different because He has a purpose that is so much greater.

  • Jasmine Blanton

    Hey Bethany! How are you? This post describes exactly what I’m going through. I’ve been fasting and all I can think about is food. I want to enjoy the time with God, it’s going to last for 21 days. I keep thinking of what I can and can’t eat at every moment. I never knew that food was such an idol to me until now. I keep telling myself that “man must not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God”, I keep giving in to eating. All I think about is that scripture in Philippians 3:19. I’ve made my belly my God. I want to fast and grow closer to God. What if I love food to much.

  • Ana Tafnes Moreira

    Hello!!! I’m from Brazil. I loving the site, it’s innovative, encouraging . Good bless you big.

  • Pingback: Ashley és a bálványai | Shining Like Stars()

  • Nikole, God’s Child

    What of God made you so certain things fulfill you. Like if he made each person so they have a purpose (which they do) and when they are doing what they are made to do they feel fulfilled. How do you tell the difference between that kind of fulfillment and being fulfilled in an idol?
    When I play soccer I feel content and happy. Does that mean it’s an idol. Or does it mean God made me to play soccer (among other things)?

  • Joy

    I tend to want every thing too perfect. I’m by the book and extremely organized, or at least try to be. Well, God has been working on me.

e-book img

Sign up to receive our blog posts via e-mail and get a copy of our free e-book:
Reaching Beyond Myself
30 Day Devotional

Privacy guarantee: We will never share your e-mail address with anyone else