Questions to ask ourselves to expose our idols

Here are two lists of questions we can use to examine ourselves for the idols in our lives.  The first list is from David Powlinson’s book, “Seeing with New Eyes” and the second list is online from Tim Keller.

List 1

  • What do you love? Hate?
  • What do you want, desire, crave, lust, and wish for? What desire do you serve and obey?
  • What do you seek, aim for, and pursue?
  • Where do you bank your hopes?
  • What do you fear? What do you not want? What do you tend to worry about?
  • What do you feel like doing?
  • What do you think you need? What are your “felt needs”?
  • What are your plans, agendas, strategies, and intentions designed to accomplish?
  • What makes you tick? What sun does your planet revolve around? What do you organize your life
  • around?
  • Where do you find refuge, safety, comfort, escape, pleasure, security?
  • What or whom do you trust?
  • Whose performance matters? On whose shoulders does the well-being of your world rest? Who can
  • make it better, make it work, make it safe, make it successful?
  • Whom must you please? Whose opinion of you counts? From whom do you desire approval and
  • fear rejection? Whose value system do you measure yourself against? In whose eyes are you living?
  • Whose love and approval do you need?
  • Who are your role models? What kind of person do you think you ought to be or want to be?
  • On your deathbed, what would sum up your life as worthwhile? What gives your life meaning?
  • How do you define and weigh success and failure, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable, in any
  • particular situation?
  • What would make you feel rich, secure, prosperous? What must you get to make life sing?
  • What would bring you the greatest pleasure, happiness, and delight? The greatest pain or misery?
  • Whose coming into political power would make everything better?
  • Whose victory or success would make your life happy? How do you define victory and success?
  • What do you see as your rights? What do you feel entitled to?
  • In what situations do you feel pressured or tense? Confident and relaxed? When you are pressured,
  • where do you turn? What do you think about? What are your escapes? What do you escape from?
  • What do you want to get out of life? What payoff do you seek out of the things you do?
  • What do you pray for?
  • What do you think about most often? What preoccupies or obsesses you? IN the morning, to what
  • does your mind drift instinctively?
  • What do you talk about? What is important to you? What attitudes do you communicate?
  • How do you spend your time? What are your priorities?
  • What are your characteristic fantasies, either pleasurable or fearful? Daydreams? What do your
  • night dreams revolve around?
  • What are the functional beliefs that control how you interpret your life and determine how you act?
  • What are you idols and false gods? In what do you place your trust or set your hopes? What do you
  • turn to or seek/ Where do you take refuge?
  • How do you live for yourself?
  • How do you live as a slave of the devil?
  • What instinctively seems and feels right to you? What are your opinions, the things you feel true?
  • Where do you find your identity? How do you define who you are?

List 2

“Life only has meaning / I only have worth if …

  • I have power and influence over others. (Power Idolatry)
  • I am loved and respected by ___________. (Approval Idolatry)
  • I have this kind of pleasure experience, a particular quality of life. (Comfort Idolatry)
  • I am able to get mastery over my life in the area of _________. (Control Idolatry)
  • People are dependent on me and need me. (Helping Idolatry)
  • Someone is there to protect me and keep me safe. (Dependence Idolatry)
  • I am completely free from obligations or responsibilities to take care of someone. (Independence Idolatry)
  • I am highly productive and getting a lot done. (Work Idolatry)
  • I am being recognized for my accomplishments, and I am excelling in my work. (Achievement Idolatry)
  • I have a certain level of wealth, financial freedom, and very nice possessions. (Materialism Idolatry)
  • I am adhering to my religion’s moral codes and accomplished in its activities. (Religion Idolatry)
  • This one person is in my life and happy to be there, and/or happy with me. (Individual person Idolatry)
  • I feel I am totally independent of organized religion and am living by a self-made morality. (Irreligion Idolatry)
  • My race and culture is ascendant and recognized as superior. (Racial/cultural Idolatry)
  • A particular social grouping or professional grouping or other group lets me in. (Inner Ring Idolatry)
  • My children and/or my parents are happy and happy with me. (Family Idolatry)
  • or Mrs. “Right” is in love with me. (Relationship Idolatry)
  • I am hurting, in a problem; only then do I feel worthy of love or able to deal with guilt. (Suffering Idolatry)
  • My political or social cause is making progress and ascending in influence or power. (Ideology Idolatry)
  • I have a particular kind of look or body image. (Image Idolatry)
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