In his reletively recent book, Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller explains what a counterfeit god is and describes how to make one – as we are so prone to do:
A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. And idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought. It can be family and children, or career and making money, or achievement and critical acclaim, or saving “face” and social standing. It can be a romantic relationship, peer approval, competence and skill, secure and comfortable circumstances, your beauty or your brains, a great political or social cause, your morality and virtue, or even sucess in the Christian ministry.
Keller also asserts:
When your meaning in life is to fix someone else’s life, we may call it “codependency” but it is really idolatry. An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “If I have that, then I’ll feel significant and secure.” Introduction, p. xviii)
I greatly apprecialte Keller delving into this subject. While few people are likely to identify themselves as Idolotors, it is an affliction that plagues us all.
John Calvin was correct when he declared: “Our hearts are little idol factories”. Understanding how we each make our individual idols, and identifying how they influence our actions and thoughts, is a major step toward diplacing them.