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When Your Noble Pursuits Become Idols

on October 7, 2013 by Ashley 5 comments

By Ashley Roe, Contributing Writer

Idols aren’t just funny looking little statues. Idols are anything you worship or make more important than God. Even good, noble things can be considered idols. Not sure what your idols are? Take a look at your priorities

Image courtesy of [ Hamed-Al-Raisi]


You can probably figure out what your idols are by looking at where you spend the majority of your time and energy. Another way to think about it is where  your priorities lie. I recently wrote a series on my blog about time management. One thing I mentioned was the importance of setting priorities. Many of us are quick to say that our relationship with God is a major priority, but is that always reflected in the way you use your time? Is there something that you notice taking time away from more important pursuits?

A comment I heard a lot was that people tended to unintentionally spend too much time on social media. Whether they meant it or not, being on Facebook became a priority for them. In other words it became an idol. We might notice the dangers of spending too much time on social media but what about spending too much time on things we consider to be noble? Can these become idols too?

Noble Pursuits

As Christian women we often feel as though we have many noble pursuits; to serve in the church, find a Godly husband,  raise well behaved and respectful children and keep a orderly and clean home, just to name a few. All of these are surely noble things to strive for but think about your motivation behind them. Is it possible your marriage, your children (or desire to have children) and even your homemaking have become your idols?

In her book Idols of the Heart, Elyse Fitzpatrick writes:

I’ve often wondered about my household idols. I’ve wondered whether I have any domestic deities – household gods that I’m looking to for my happiness and security…What must I have for life to be meaningful or happy? If I answer with anything other than God himself, then that’s what functions as a god [idol] for me.  – Page 22-23

So if you are putting anything above God, even good things, then it is an idol in your life.

The Story of Martha and Mary

I am reminded of the story of Martha and her sister Mary. Jesus was visiting them and while Martha ran around tending to the cooking and household duties, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to him. Martha, upset at her sisters carelessness about being hospitable to their guest, admonishes her sister and asks Jesus to make Mary help her.

This was his reply:

Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41-42 NASB

I am sure she looked at him in shock. I mean she thought she was serving the Lord by doing all those things for him. No one would argue that her desire to be hospitable was wrong of her yet she was making that desire more important than actual fellowship with the Lord. We do this too.

Which Sister Are You?

Most of us probably identify more with Martha, we have a mile long list filled with many noble pursuits in which we serve our church and family. But oftentimes we get so busy “serving” that we miss the reason we are serving  in the first place. Ultimately, your service means nothing if you don’t put God at the center of it all.

It is most certainly not wrong to make serving your church and family a significant priority in your life, but your relationship with God must be more important. So what if instead of trying to make God one of your top priorities, we made him your only priority?

Setting Aside Your Idols

I read a devotional recently in which the author mentioned that God should not just be our top priority, He should be our sole priority. Did you get that?! God should be your ONLY priority. Our mentality should be that of David when he wrote Psalm 63.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.

Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.

I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:1-8 NIV

This doesn’t mean that we don’t have other priorities and pursuits. It means that our relationship with the Lord should permeate all other areas of our lives so that the more we seek him the more our desires align with his.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 ESV

I know this is much easier said than done as I more often than not fail at this. But God gives us grace and allows us to start each new day fresh. If you notice something taking your time away from God do what you can to change it and turn your heart back to him.

Aren’t you glad for His grace?!

Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
  • Join my free course and learn the essential habits for Christian homemakers
  1. Well spoken, Ashley! I definitely agree that social media–and all the things that it provides, like popularity, attention, friends, promotion–can easily become an idol. And you’re right, I think noble pursuits can become idols too. That’s a hard one though. I think the best analogy I’ve heard recently is that we should hold our gifts, goals and missions with open palms, willing for God to take them if He wills. Great post!

    • Thank you Crystal! You are right, if Satan can’t get a hold of our hearts to do bad things, it is almost worse when he distracts us from God with good things.