Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Self-righteousness….is the largest idol of the human heart – the idol which man loves most and God hates most. Dearly beloved, you will always be going back to this idol. You are always trying to be something in yourself, to gain God’s favour by thinking little of your sin, or by looking to your repentance, tears, prayers; or by looking to your religious exercises, your frames, etc; or by looking to your graces, the Spirit’s work in your heart. Beware of false Christs. Study sanctification to the utmost, but make not a Christ of it.

Danny Silk

Idolatry only happens when I accept your worship. If you treat me like I am more valuable than anybody else, and I cooperate with that, I’ve led us into idolatry. “I appreciate your respect, I appreciate your value for me, I appreciate even your submission to my leadership, but I need to know the truth.” I have to be willing to hear the truth.

Ed Stetzer

Our idols are not golden calves or carved statues. Idolatry is not tied to any specific idol; it exists whenever we look to someone or something in the world around us to save and satisfy us. Just as every age has its own problems, each has a fresh cast of new idols it creates to solve them. We reject the refreshing and rest-filled salvation of the Lord and hew for ourselves cisterns that give the illusion of holding water but are really bottomless pits. Try as we might, every new cistern fails, and we are left looking for some new solution to our temptations, fears, anxieties, and self-righteousness. The insidious lie of idols is that they prey on our hope. Every day they demand our work and devotion, offering nothing in return but promising us that “just a little more” will do it.

N T Wright

What stops us from being genuine humans (bearing the divine image, acting as the “royal priesthood”) is not only sin, but the idolatry that underlies it. The idols have gained power, the power humans ought to be exercising in God’s world; idolatrous humans have handed it over to them. What is required, for God’s new world and for renewed humans within it is for the power of the idols to be broken.