Do you have an idol in your heart? Now, before you say no, let us define idolatry and see what it means today.

In ancient times, idolatry was the worship of idols or the use of idols to represent the "gods" people believed in. Such idols were carved images in various forms made of stones and wood, and the rich folks touted silver and golden ones. Idolatry was practiced by many ancient cultures, by both the worshippers of the only true God, Yahweh, and worshippers of false gods.

Yahweh forbade His people, Israel, to practice idolatry. They were not to worship any idols of other "gods," nor to represent Him by any image. Since Yahweh is an invisible Spirit whom no person has ever seen, we cannot possibly use any kind of image to adequately represent Him. Moreover, to worship an idol that represents Him would put us in the place of the creator and God in the place of the created creature.

Today, people generally do not worship idols or use idols to represent Yahweh. Yet, many of us are guilty of idolatry. We commit the underlying sins of idolatry: a) redefining God and then worshipping what we have redefined, and b) holding people or things in higher esteem than Yahweh.

While we do not carve actual, physical idols to represent Yahweh, we do create "spiritual idols" by redefining who God is and how He should behave. When we redefine Yahweh and think of Him other than what He has revealed to us about Himself in His Word, we create spiritual idols in our hearts to represent Him. This is idolatry of today.

Other idols in our hearts may be people or things, or even our own selves, that we value more than we value God. Such idols could be our family or friends, our job, or our reputation.

Do you or anyone you know commit the following forms of idolatry?

a) Judging the actions of Yahweh

Have you ever said, "If I were God, I would do so and so, or not do so and so"? Personally, I've heard, "If I were God, I would have prevented terrible things from happening to people, like the kidnapping of the three Cleveland, Ohio girls who had been locked up, raped, and beaten for a decade."

But the thing is: you are not God. When we question Yahweh's actions, we are redefining how God should behave or act. When we say how God should act, we are judging Him according to our own moral standards and limited knowledge. We are using our own morality as the measuring stick to judge God.

Does an ant have the right to use their own moral standards as a measuring stick to judge us? If not, then how much less right do we, the created creature, have in judging God, the Creator, and using our own sinful morality of all standards? This is among the worst kinds of idolatry we commit against Yahweh today: judging how He should behave according to our own limited morality, understanding, and knowledge.

b) Focusing only on the attributes of Yahweh we like and disregarding the rest

Which qualities of Yahweh have you heard people constantly emphasize, without mentioning the others? Do they not include love, grace, and mercy? But are these attributes the only ones that Yahweh possesses? Is He not the God of wrath, judgment, justice, and righteousness, as well?

Many of us just like to think of Yahweh as a loving God who loves every person unconditionally, and that He will forgive the worst sinners down to every last person. At the same time, we ignore the fact that Yahweh is also a God of justice. Due to His justice, He will pour out His wrath on unrepentant sinners, who will be severely judged in the future. Simply put, we recreate God by focusing on only the attributes we prefer and ignoring the attributes that we find unfavorable in our own eyes. This is another form of spiritual idolatry that we are committing.

c) Switching Yahweh with Jesus Christ

Do you believe that Yahweh is Jesus Christ or Jesus Christ is Yahweh? If so, you would believe that it was Yahweh who came to Earth and was crucified for our sins. You would also believe that Jesus was the God who gave the Mosaic Law to Israel, including the "ten commandments."

However, the Bible clearly identifies Yahweh and Jesus as separate Beings, each with their own unique will and roles to play. Yahweh God is the Father, while Jesus is the Son, subordinate to the Father. Yahweh calls Jesus "my servant," while Jesus calls Yahweh "my God." Would God call Himself (or anyone else for that matter) "my God?" If He would, then "His God" is higher than He--so how could God be God? But the truth is that Yahweh is the most supreme Being in the universe, "the only true God," as Jesus said (John 17:3), while Jesus is His Son. "Father" and "son" are never the same person.

The worst kind of idolatry is switching the identity of Yahweh with Jesus Christ or saying that Yahweh and Jesus are one and the same. This is also the number one idolatry that most churches are committing today. To make it easier to confuse Yahweh with Jesus, church leaders have altogether removed the name "Yahweh" from their vocabulary, so every time they mention God, they either leave Him nameless or call Him "Jesus." But this grave sin falls heaviest on the shoulders of the translators of our modern English Bible versions for replacing all nearly-7000 instances of God's name with the generic title of "Lord" and "God." Yes, whenever you come across "Lord" in the Old Testament, know that ninety-nine percent of the time it was originally "YHWH," from which we get "Yahweh" and the English transliteration of "Jehovah."

How would you feel if you were the president of a country and you send an ambassador to represent you but people call him by your name and treat him as the president instead? So how do you think God would feel when we worship his servant, Jesus, in place of Him?

Yahweh said, "I am Yahweh. That is my name. I will not give my glory to another,
nor my praise to engraved images." (Isaiah 42:8, WEB)

Yet, we have given His glory to His Son. This has become our biggest spiritual engraved image in our heart, which we must cast away.

A while back, I introduced to you the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; to refresh your memory of their unique attributes, positions, and responsibilities, read the archived newsletter issue at:

d) Worshipping other than Yahweh

If your family or friends encourage or order you to do something that is against Yahweh's will, whom will you heed, them or God? If you witness a loved one committing a crime, would you do the right thing in accordance with God's will by reporting it to the police, or would you keep quiet as a silent accomplice? In your life, what is your goal: to please those around you, yourself, or your Creator? What is your dream: to make lots of money in order to retire in luxury or spend your time to serve God by serving humanity?

If you choose anyone or anything above God, then you are committing spiritual idolatry. Yahweh should sit on the topmost shelf in our hearts. But many of us have shoved Him to the bottom drawer, underneath all the junks in our lives. We pull Him out only when we need His help--if we can even remember Him at all. And once we got what we wanted from Him, we shove Him back under our rubbish.

Is this how we should worship our Creator? Are we not rather worshipping ourselves, others, and other things in our lives?

So my friend, do you have an idol in your heart? Will you submit to Yahweh's sovereignty and will and praise all of His holy attributes, or will you recreate Him and worship your own creation? Will you love Yahweh with all your heart, mind, and strength, or will you love yourself more?

Any idol you set up in your heart is a stumbling block. It prevents you from having a fulfilling relationship with your Creator. It offers only a false sense of security, where you feel that you are worshipping the true God and will receive His blessing when in fact the opposite is true.

Only when you surrender yourself wholly to Yahweh with all the attributes He has revealed to us and set Him on the number one spot in your heart will you be able to serve Him properly. The question is: will you?

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Shirley Cheng (b. 1983) is a blind and physically disabled award-winning author with twenty-seven book awards, proclaimer of Yahweh God's good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, Bible teacher, founder of Ministry, summa cum laude graduate with Doctor of Divinity, motivational speaker, poet; and author of nine books (including "Do You Love Jehovah?"), contributor to over twenty-five, and an editor of one. Shirley has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no education until age eleven. Back then, she knew only her ABCs and very simple English; other than that, her book knowledge was non-existent. However, after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she mastered grade level and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University.

Do you have questions about the Bible? Something you don't understand? Do you need a bit of guidance in developing a relationship with Yahweh? Then Shirley would like to help you! Please contact her via her site at and she would be more than glad to do her best to answer your questions! Never hesitate to ask questions, for no question about the Bible is ever too small or stupid.