What shapes your identity? Do people, things, or activities shape how you view yourself? Have you noticed how advertisements appeal to your sense of security, self-worth, and significance? The messages we hear are: “You have to have this to be popular.” Or, “You have to have or do this to be truly satisfied.” Or, “You have to do this to be healthy and fit.” Advertisements appeal to our fleshly desires, doesn’t it?
Idolatry of People’s Opinions
Where do you get your identity, security, significance, and self-worth? Does it come from people’s opinion, or money, your work, secular and church activities, sports, people, material possessions, riches, etc.?
Review the following questions to realize if you have unseen idolatry of peoples’ opinions and perceptions of you.
- Are you devastated, depressed, or despaired when the people you admire ignore you?
- Do you become anxious when people disapprove of you?
- Do you have an excessive concern about what others think about you, and you try to manipulate their thinking?
- Do you have a preoccupation with acceptance, approval, popularity, self-image, or pleasing others?
- Do you avoid being transparent, confront bad ideas, or ask for help because you fear what other people will think?
- Do you get upset when no one recognizes you for a contribution you made?
- Because of self-pride, do you want people to confirm your excessive opinion of yourself?
- Do you cover up your failures or inadequacies so people think well of you?
- Do you believe that you will be popular and accepted if you wear the latest fashions, are a good athlete, have a fancy car, have a lot of money and possessions, accomplish something great, etc.?
Proverbs 29:25 states, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” A snare is anything that entraps or entangles you when you are not aware. The fear of man snares you in the trap of pleasing the one you fear instead of serving and pleasing God. Trust the LORD to take care of your needs for worth, acceptance, and significance. As fellow heirs with Jesus Christ, you have tremendous value and significance; read Romans 8:17 and Galatians 4:7. Also, read my posts called Fear God, Not People.
Meditate on and journal the following Scripture: Jeremiah 17:5-8,
5) Thus, says the LORD: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6) He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.’
7) ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. 8) He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.’
According to this passage, you will receive good things when you trust God, but Satan does not want that, so he will tempt you to trust in idols.
Idolatry of Riches
Do you try to get your worth, security, significance, and value from how much money you have? If yes, money is your idol. The Bible says in Matthew 6:20-21 and 24 to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 24) No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Money is an idol when you devote your time to earning a lot to show your status over others. Trust in your income potential, bank accounts, and investments to meet your needs instead of trusting God is idolatry. A wise person prepares for retirement but also trusts God and not their investments because investments can be lost in a day, but God will never leave you. Hebrews 13:5 states, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
Do you value money more than God? 1Timothy 6:9-10 explains what happens when you love money more than God. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
If you realize you love money more than God, then take that thought captive and say a prayer of repentance and submission to Him. Serving money will bring many sorrows. The Apostle Paul also instructs us in Timothy 6:6-8 that being content will bring blessings. “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8) But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” Which do you want; sorrows or blessings? Are you content with what God gave you, or do you want more money?
Wealth is not a sin, and many people in the Bible were very wealthy, yet they loved God, such as Job, Abraham, Daniel, King David, and King Solomon. The worldly desire to be rich tempts you to do evil and fall into ruin and destruction. Living comfortably is not a sin, but remember to tithe and give to those who are less fortunate since what you have was given to you by God. Deuteronomy 8:17-18 states, “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18a) You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the power to get wealth.”
You will feel empty and disillusioned when you depend on people or things to give you security, self-worth, and significance. The following questions will reveal if you are trusting God to meet these needs.
- Is your primary motive to love and glorify God, or are you seeking riches, a comfortable life, personal approval, or acceptance from people?
- Does God fill the void in your soul, or do you go to food, activities, people, etc.?
- Do you thankfully pray in every circumstance, expecting God to meet all your needs?