Our pastor preached about idols the other day, and he said that an idol can be anything - our money, our job, or anything like that. I guess I always thought idols were just carved religious figures. Was he right to label all these things as idols? — C.H.
An idol is any object that people worship - so yes, he was right to label things like that as modern idols. Some people today worship their money or social position or possessions just as devoutly as people in the ancient world worshipped an image made of gold or wood or stone.
The difference, of course, is that most people don't think of money (for example) as an idol, or as something they worship. In reality, however, many people do; their whole lives are focused on money, and they serve it just as faithfully as other people serve an actual idol. In fact, money has become their master, and they have become its servants. In other words, money has taken the place of God in their lives. Jesus warned, "No one can serve two masters. ... You cannot serve both God and Money" (Matthew 6:24).
The Bible gives us two important warnings about idols (whatever form they take). First, it warns us that they are false; only God can meet our deepest moral and spiritual needs. Second, it warns us that nothing should take God's place in our lives. The Bible says, "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything" (Exodus 20:4).
Are there any idols in your life - things that you have allowed to take God's rightful place? Face them ... repent of them ... and then make Christ alone the center of your life.