In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller describes an idol as “anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.”
He later explains that it is “anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.”
Who cares? God does. He actually cares a lot. Exodus 20:4-5 shows us that God is jealous for our full attention. We see in Colossians 3:5-6 that the wrath of God is coming upon idolatry. We need to take seriously anything that takes our minds off of God. I don’t know about you, but sports tend to take my mind off of God more than most things in my life.
The first step to killing our idols is to identify them. I have created a 10 question test that will help aid you in this process. Is your sport an idol? Let’s find out…
The Sports Idolatry Test
I feel most significant when I achieve success in sports.
My greatest fear is my sport being taken away from me.
Even when I am not playing/practicing my sport, I am constantly thinking about it.
I think about my sport more than I think about God.
I spend more time practicing/playing/thinking about my sport than I spend in the spiritual disciplines (reading the Bible, prayer, attending church, fasting).
When I think about my self worth, I identify more often with being an athlete than a child of God.
I often use God as a “good luck charm” in my sport.
I feel most loved and appreciated by others when they affirm me for my success in sports.
I feel most depressed when people speak negatively about me because of my failures in sports.
The first thing I think about when I wake up and go to bed at night is my sport.
Regardless of how you scored, I don’t think quitting your sport is the answer. I really don’t. And I think for most of you, God probably doesn’t want you to quit either. What He wants is for you to repent of the idolatrous role that sport has played in your life and then to view your sport differently moving forward.
Most idols start as good gifts that God has given us that we misuse by turning into gods. I believe sports are one of these good gifts from the Lord. What if we began to use sports as a vehicle to drive us closer to God instead of using God to get more out of our sport? We get this backwards!
This is just a test to identify where you are at. It is not meant to provide all the answers on what to do next, but I want to at least give you a few options.
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This article originally appeared here.