Know Your Root Sin(s): An Idolatry Inventory

All sin stems from the sin of idol worship (cf. Romans 1:18-32). What is an idol?

An idol is anything in your life that is so central to your life that, should you lose it, your life would hardly feel worth living.

Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters(New York: Dutton, 2009); xviii.

What is idol worship? It is worshiping your idols instead of (or more than) Jesus.

How do you identify your idol(s)? Ask yourself,

"what is so central to my life that, should I lose it, my life would hardly feel worth living?"

You may come up with one answer; you may come up with many. Regardless, whatever you identify is what fuels your sinful behavior. Idols can be evil things (like porn), neutral things (like money) or good things (like children). In every case, they are ultimate things; things we trust in and rely on. They are functional saviors.

Once you've identified your false savior, ask yourself, "what do I want to be saved from?"

A porn-addict might seek salvation from boredom or loneliness. An approval-addict seeks salvation from rejection.

Once you've determined the kind of salvation you're after, ask yourself, "why are my idols false saviors?"

Deconstruct your idol(s). Cut their legs out from under them. Don't allow them to hold sway over your imagination.

For example, here's how you might deconstruct approval...

Approval-addicts operate on this premise:

If I'm kind to people and do what they tell me to, they will love me.

Approval-addicts do whatever it takes to please people. They thereby become enslaved to everyone's opinion of them. And they ultimately learn that it's impossible to please everyone, since (a) people disagree with each another, and (b) some people are impossible to please.

Once you have deconstructed your idol(s), ask yourself, "why is Jesus a better Savior?"

Let's use approval as an example one more time. By virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, God accepts you. He accepts you completely, and eternally. You cannot lose his approval. And God's approval ultimately frees you from enslavement to the approval of others (cf. Hebrews 13:5-6).

Identify your targets. Aim to kill (Rom 8:13).