Idols

Study Guide

As humans, we can corrupt any good thing when we make a created thing our source of life and depend on it for happiness. If when we lose it, we feel destabilized or threatened, this is called an idol; it is something in this world that we are asking to be a functional god for us. Idols can take the form of a job, person, relationship, the need for approval, sexuality, money, and so many others. The important step for us is to recognize what these could be in our own lives and be active in turning away.
Application
  1. When we place our satisfaction in things created instead of the Creator, we put our identity and worth into something or someone temporary and unstable. As Scofield was teaching, what “cracked cistern” (Jeremiah 2:13) or idol came to mind for you? What are specific environments where you are tempted to find life in your idol?

  2. What was an idol for you in the past that you have been able to recognize, confront, and disobey? What were some strategic ways you disobeyed your idol? How have you seen growth in that area since then?

  3. How can you practically disobey your current idol(s)? What can it look like for you to be strategic and intentional about choosing the fountain of living water instead? What are some obstacles that you might face as you try to disobey your idol?

  4. If entertainment is an idol for you, what would it be like for you to captivate your imagination with the mission of God instead of with Netflix, cable, recreation, your phone, etc.? Do you have a mission for your family that is worthy of the Kingdom of God? What are some specific ways that you and your family can sacrifice for the Kingdom of God instead of the cheap substitute of entertainment?

Key Points
  • If your satisfaction, happiness, joy, or contentment would be threatened if you lost this thing, then you have exposed an idol.

  • The problem is not that we are thirsty for water and have these desires, it's that we quench our thirst in the wrong place; God created us with that thirst to be quenched in him, the fountain of living water.

  • We must remove idols and make space for Jesus to satisfy our soul. We do this by identifying our idols, confronting them, and then disobeying them.

  • Common categories of idols are the affirmation of others, entertainment, and spiritual performance.

  • Cracked cisterns are a slow leak. If you are blind to areas where you are drinking from cracked cisterns, invite in community to help you identify them. You cannot do this in isolation, and as a church, we have to continually confront our idols.

  • If you are aware of your idols and you feel stuck, frustrated, or anxious because of your struggle, be encouraged that God can do immeasurably more than you could ever ask or imagine in freeing you (Ephesians 3:20).

Scripture References

Jeremiah 2:11-13

John 4:10

John 4:13-16

John 5:41-44

Galatians 1:10

Matthew 25:21

Ephesians 3:20

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