What is idolatry and who are you serving?

Question: “What is idolatry and who is my God?  Who are you serving?  If not God, what can you do?”

Bible Answers

The New Testament warns all believers against idolatry. Idolatry can be defined as admiration, love, or reverence for any image, idea, object or person more than God.  Or serving or worshipping something other than the one true God. You shall have no other gods before me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below (Ex. 20:3-4).

This is one of the most famous moral codes in the world. It starts with: “I am the Lord your God  …you shall have no other gods before me.”  Who or what are these other gods? This verse tells us, “anything” we hold as more important, more dear, more loved than God, is an idol. This idolatry can be sex, marriage, work, family, sports, TV or computer, and for some it can be religion.  Why religion, because most religions are not worshipping the “Father in heaven”, the creator of the world. We can make anything an idle in our life and worship it.  Biblically, an idol is anything, besides God, which rises to the top of our list and becomes the most important thing in our life.

If we spend more time thinking about your hero than God, that's idolatry. If our every thought is about the latest gadget or our personal appearance, that's idolatry. If our first priority is work, making money, golf, or even our family, that's idolatry.  If anything is more important to you than God, that’s idolatry, and idolatry is very much a sin.  

Are you saying I should not love my mate?  No. However, rather than wanting a wife for love and comfort, we should be looking to God to provide love and comfort through our spouse so that He remains the center of our life.   


Idolatry explicitly appears in false religions, sorcery, Satanism, and other forms of the occult.  Idolatry occurs when we give ourselves over to greed and materialism rather than trusting God alone.  It can occur when we believe that we can serve God, experience His salvation and blessings, and at the same time still participate in the immoral and wicked practices of the world.

Indicators of Idolatry

Our actions should be to please the Lord and not ourselves.


God warns us to flee from any form of idolatry, Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.(1 Co. 10:14, 1 John 5:21). Those who engage in any form of idolatry will not inherit His kingdom (1 Co. 6:9-10, Gal. 5:19-21). Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood (Rev. 22:15).  God has made you in His image to have a relationship with Him and to worship Him.  You should have no expectation of going to God’s heaven, if you have spent your life worshipping, other gods - idolatry.

The greatest danger is that we permit ourselves to be deceived.  We say, “No, I am not worshipping my job, my family, by golf; I am not really making an idol out of them,” when we really are.  We need to be honest and repent.

But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).

The solution to idolatry is given in Matthew 6:33, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

You must ask yourself, “who or what is the center of your life?” Whatever is most important to you is your God.

If God has not been first in your life, pray and ask God to help you to put Him first.

Next Section - How can pride destroy us?

Representing Sin, mankind' sins

Sin Section

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