"I think it is Elyse Fitzpatrick who says the way to identifying [an] idol is will I sin to get it or will I sin if I don't get it? I think if you ask those questions, that's going to show you a lot of things."
That is a good question. What am I willing to sin for to get? What am I willing to sin for if I don't get it?
But more importantly, what am I willing to sin for to keep?
These questions are important and challenging, because inherent in them is a clear choice: Do I sin against God for this? If I do, it is an idol. I can not have two masters. I will hate the one, and love the other. I must choose, or it will be chosen for me.
I know in our society we keep the question of idolatry at a safe distance from ourselves. We sometimes reassure ourselves. "Well, modern idolatry is simply greed. I am not really greedy. But if I am, I struggle against it, because I give to the church and to the poor. Besides, I am not really rich, like those corrupt CEO's."
Sometimes we may see idolatry as a minor struggle with temptation. "Yeah, I struggle with my desire for chocolate. So I can't even look at a commercial for chocolate and not want some." And sometimes we may even justify our idolatry. "I need food to eat. I need a man/woman in my life. I just have needs."
But this question cuts through all the justifications. Am I willing to sin to get it, to keep it, or to sin if I don't get it? For it is in the sinning that we place worth on the object of our desire. We declare, "This thing is worth more than God."