Husband and wife reading the Word of God

Timeless Truths: God Must Be First in Our Hearts and Lives

When we allow something to become more important to us than the Lord, it has become an idol. In this "Timeless Truths" segment from our archives, Jeff & Rose Colón talk to couples about making sure that the Lord is first in their hearts and lives.

Host: Jeff and Rose Colón have joined us in the studio. It's good to see you again.

Jeff & Rose: Good to see you.

Host: Thank you for coming in and talking with us. We want to talk today about spousal idolatry. We use the term idolatry a lot in our everyday topics here at Pure Life. Could you kind of give our listeners an idea of what idolatry truly is?

Jeff: Well, I've heard it said like this: An idol is something that we consistently make equal to or more important than God in our attention and desire. Maybe we just talk about it all the time. Or we're very devoted to it. Or we make choices that revolve around it. It's just something in our lives that has become more important to us than God.

<pull-quote>An idol is something that we consistently make equal to or more important than God in our attention and desire.<pull-quote><tweet-link>TweetThis<tweet-link>

Host: So, it could be anything. It doesn't necessarily have to be something bad.

Jeff: No. Absolutely.

Host: So, how does someone know if he or she has made their spouse an idol in their heart?

Jeff: Well, there's some telltale signs that people can see if they look inside themselves. They can ask themselves, “What is it that I really adore? What is it that I really put my hope in? What is it that I really look forward to? What is it that I really make sacrifices for in my life? What is the most prevalent topic that I tend to talk about? What do I look for my peace in? Where do I look for my meaning and my happiness? Am I looking to my spouse to make me happy? There are a lot of telltale signs that will show us if something is really an idol in our hearts.

Host: Rose, when you're looking at the wife in a marriage, what are some of the ways as a counselor that you might see how a wife has made an idol of her husband?

Rose: One of the ways that I've seen this manifest is when a wife is being consumed with her husband as far as what he's doing and what he's not doing. She is looking to see if he's spending time with the Lord or if he's not spending time with the Lord. She constantly wants to know if he's pressing into God the way he's supposed to be pressing into Him. Ultimately the focus for this wife is just the husband. She's made the husband out bigger than God is and because of that God is very small in her world. She's just consumed with her husband.
        An example I can give from my own life is when my husband was in his sin. I was consumed with how he was doing and what he was doing. I was consumed all day wondering if he was going to be acting out and because of that I wasn't focused on my own walk with the Lord or even my own responsibilities. So, what I've seen in my personal life and in counseling women is that when the husband becomes an all-consuming object, then it starts affecting a wife’s relationship with the Lord. But then too it affects how she acts and responds toward her husband.

Host: So, you're not saying that a wife shouldn't care about her husband and that she should never think about her husband. It's really a matter of balance.

Rose: Right. It is a matter of balance because it's okay to wonder how my husband is doing. But to be wondering how he is doing 24/7 to the point where you’re anxious and worried inside your heart, that's where you are crossing a line because you’re not trusting the Lord with your husband.

Host: Jeff, when a husband or a wife has made an idol of their spouse, how do they begin to deal with that? If they've recognized it, then what are the steps they need to take to deal with it?

Jeff: Well, first of all, they need to understand that from the Word of God,we're told that God will have no other gods before Him. He's a jealous God. He longs for the attention that we give to other things, because He desires to have a relationship with us and He wants us all to Himself. That should be our desire as well because He is what we ultimately need. He created us to have fellowship with Him and to be satisfied by Him and He knows that when we look to other things then we're not going to be fulfilled. He ultimately just wants to bless us and give us what we ultimately need.
        So, He encourages us in His Word to turn away from worthless things, to turn away from things that won't satisfy and to seek Him diligently and to make Him the all engrossing object of our lives. He doesn’t have a vain desire for us to fall at His feet, selfishly needing that worship. It’s because we were created by Him and for Him. We were created to have fellowship with Him and He wants that fellowship with us. So, it displeases Him when we look to other things. So, a husband or wife needs to understand that when they are idolizing their spouse, they are giving an amount of attention to someone else that only God should be receiving from them. And if the Lord is not first in their lives, then they're not going to be able to fulfill His purpose and plan for their lives.

Host: Well, is it too strong of a statement to say that if this is the reality that a person is living in then they're in sin and they need to repent?

Jeff: Absolutely. Because sin is missing the mark. And if God is not who we are focusing on then we're missing the mark. One of the main aspects of sin is going around God to get what we want. So, God must be at the center of the marriage. And if both spouses don't have Him as their first source or their first object of desire, they are going to be off track and they are not going to be in the will of God.

Rose: Also, in 1 John, John tells us to keep ourselves from idols. And when you read that command in light of marriage you will see that there's something that you need to do to make sure that you are not allowing your spouse to become an idol in your heart. We need to always be checking our hearts to make sure that God is bigger than our spouse. He's able to keep our spouses. He's able to watch over our spouses. I don't have to be worrying 24/7 about what my husband is doing because our God is bigger than that. When we start worrying and fretting that just reveals that something is not right in our heart and it's usually the tendency of making our spouse an idol.

Host: What are some of the practical things that either a couple can do together or the spouse can do in their own walk to overcome spousal idolatry?

Jeff: Well, I know for myself that if I have something in my life that is taking my attention away from where it needs to be, I need to start making choices to get my focus where it needs to be. The Bible commands us to set our minds on the things above and not the things of the earth. And we just need to rein in our thoughts and our feelings, and we need to start going to the throne of grace which is where we'll get what we need. We need to start getting in the Word of God. We need to start seeking God more on a daily basis.
        The more time we start spending with God and the more time we start choosing to make Him the first thing that we're pursuing, He's going to automatically balance things out and then we're going to start seeing things right. And we're going to start to see our spouse in the right perspective. What spouses don't realize is that when God is first and when you're in a right relationship with Him, you're going to be able to fulfill your role as a husband or a wife the way God designed you to because things are going to be in their proper order.

Host: Rose, how often have you seen in counseling where the spouse who has been in idolatry begins to let go of their idolatry and then a lot of issues and problems that were coming up in the marriage kind of begin to take care of themselves.

Rose: Yeah. Those problems do begin to fall by the wayside because the focus is off the other spouse and they're focusing more on the Lord and what the Lord wants to be to them and that they were created for Him first and for His purposes. So, the focus really gets off of self or their spouse and it starts to get more on the Lord. And as that happens, you become freer, and you have more peace inside and you're able to be a blessing. Instead of looking to get something from the other person, you're just looking to give and be a blessing to them.

Jeff and Rose Colón held various leadership positions during their 22 years with Pure Life Ministries. Jeff holds an MDiv and BA in Biblical Counseling, and Rose a Masters of Ministry from Master’s International School of Divinity, in Evansville, IN. Jeff and Rose recently branched out on their own and founded the Lighthouse Biblical Counseling Center and the Lighthouse on the Rock Fellowship in Dry Ridge, Kentucky.

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