Understanding Your Idols

Are you aware that there are two types of idols present in our lives? One is more evident than the other. However, the one that is less evident is the one controlling everything. The two types of idols I am referring to are “Deep Idols” and “Surface Idols” [1].

Deep Idols

Some “Deep Idols” we may have in our lives are a desire for (1) Influence and Power, or a craving for (2) Appreciation and Approval. Others may be (3) emotional and physical Comfort, or a desire for (4) Security and Control [2]. One of these categories is typically more prevalent in our life and is our “Deep Idol.” They control our actions and desires, and are often hidden well by those who are enslaved by them.

Surface Idols

“Surface Idols” are things such as our house, money, sex, possessions, our spouse, or our children [3]. The purpose of these “Surface Idols” is to appease and satisfy our deeper idols [4]. This means eradicating our “Surface Idols” may not always rid us of our “Deep Idols.” As a result, we must work to understand the different between “Deep Idols” and “Surface Idols”, and seek change at the deepest level.


Surface Idol = Money

Deep Idol = Power or Approval or Comfort or Control

People will tend to use money as a means to gain power and influence people. Others will use money as a means to gain approval from the world. Still some will use money as a means to gain comfort, living a lavish lifestyle. While others may save all their money because they are seeking to satisfy their desire for control and security [5].

The Gospel

Only the Gospel can break the hold these “Deep Idols” have on us. When we understand the Gospel, we will no longer have a desire to obtain power and influence because we will see others as made in God’s image, not pawns in our own chess game. We no longer are stingy with out money because we see the grace God pours out on us as a result of the cross, remembering that Christ gave up everything and became poor, so we might live. In the Gospel, we also recognize that God is the only one in control of this chaotic world, allowing us to feel secure knowing whatever happens is the result of God’s plan, not our own. Lastly, in the Gospel we seek comfort in God, not in a lavish lifestyle, realizing only in Him will we find true and lasting comfort since only He is eternal and true [6].


We all have idols, some of our idols are “Deep Idols” and some of our idols are “Surface Idols.” When we are aware there are two types of idols, we will not be satisfied to rid ourselves of our “Surface Idols” only. Rather, we will want to tunnel down deep into our heart to see which idol we have more of a propensity toward, and rid our “Deep Idol” from our lives. While some of us may have more of a propensity toward Power, some Control, while others Approval, and still others Comfort, we can be assured that by applying the Gospel to our lives, we can rid ourselves of these idols.


[1] Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters,64.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid., 65.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid., 66.
[6] Ibid., 67-68.

Image: Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3 thoughts on “Understanding Your Idols

  1. Pingback: Leadership Through Daily Scripture Reading « Christianity Matters

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