An idol is anything that competes with God for your heart's affection. Pastor Martin Lloyd-Jones has said an idol is usually whatever "rouses and attracts me so easily that I give my time, my attention, my energy and my money to it effortlessly."
Idolatry is when we allow anything other than God to become the center of our heart's true happiness, contentment, meaning, identity, purpose, or security. It's when we allow something else to become an idol or a "surrogate god" in our life, ruling our thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
Below are 11 diagnostic questions, adapted from David Powlison's book, Seeing with New Eyes, to give you insights that may help you identify possible idols in your life.
1. What do I worry about the most?
2. What, if I failed or lost it, would cause me to feel that I did not even want to live?
3. What do I run to in order to comfort myself when things go bad or get difficult?
4. What do I do to cope? What are my release valves? What do I need to feel better?
5. What oftentimes preoccupies me? What do I always daydream about?
6. What makes me feel the most self-worth? Of what am I the proudest? For what do I want to be known?
7. What do I often lead with in conversations?
8. Early on, what do I want to make sure that people know about me?
9. What prayer, unanswered, would make me seriously think about turning away from God?
10. What do I really want and expect our of life? What do I think would make me happy?
11. Whom or what do I trust in for my future?
For addition insight on dealing with idols in your life, get a copy of 33 The Series Volume 3: A Man and His Traps. View Session 1 of A Man and His Traps.