By Pat Morley
(excerpted from Pastoring Men, Moody Publishers)
I used to race a vintage Porsche and have used racing as a platform to build relationships with men and to share my faith. One day a man who never misses a chance to race asked me quite seriously, "When does my passion for racing become an idol?" Good question.
All idolatry is rooted in unbelief. This unbelief can take many forms, but at its root, it is the powerful lie, "Jesus Christ alone is not enough to make me happy. I need something else."
An idol is something we worship. The issue is looking to anything except Jesus Christ for identity, meaning, and ultimate purpose. An idol is anything that becomes the object of inordinate affection. An idol is anything of which we say, "I must have this to be happy."
John Calvin said that men are "idol factories." Perhaps nothing interferes with a man's faith more than the root problem of making idols--it's the "next step" after believing a lie (topic 37 will cover "lies").
The average American Christian male has made an idol of something that competes with his full surrender to Christ. Men are addicted to everything from money to secret thought lives to comfortable little secluded environments they spend all their waking hours to create. Men can make idols of almost anything, but common examples today include homes, cars, boats, motorcycles, titles and positions, their intelligence, and their bodies. All these affections are horizontal and worldly. All such friendship with the world is spiritual adultery (James 4:4).
C. S. Lewis lamented how men are so easily satisfied with lesser things. Idols make promises they cannot keep, which is why a man can be on a winning streak and still feel empty.