When is something considered idolatry? I am a big Elvis Presley fan and I listen to his music a lot. I also have posters of him up in my room and I collect small Elvis items too. Lately, though, I have been wondering if being a fan of a celebrity is the same thing as idolatry. I don’t spend all day thinking about him, but I will admit that I do daydream about him sometimes. I also find myself having prioritizing issues when it comes to reading my Bible or writing fan fiction (I write little stories with Elvis in them), and I always catch myself and try get myself in line again. I still base my decisions off of what Jesus would do; I still read my Bible; Elvis doesn’t distract my mind when I pray; and so forth. But I don’t know if that’s still wrong or if it’s okay to be a fan like I am. I just want to know when it’s considered idolatry because I don’t want to be idolizing Elvis. And if I am, it would be really sad to get him and all of his music out of my life, but I would do it. I would just like to know what idolizing a celebrity looks like so I can check myself.
Hey girl! Great question, by the way, because in this day and age, we all seem to get so caught up in our favorite bands and television shows and social media—sometimes to the point that it becomes an obsession.
So let’s cut to the chase! Being a fan of a band or celebrity is the same as idolatry if you’re so obsessed that you worship said band or celebrity. In Exodus, God tells us: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God….”
He’s a jealous God! He couldn’t be more clear. And so, if we put anyone before Him, then that would be considered idolatry, whether it’s Elvis or Facebook or fashion or ourselves. And if you’re taking time away from reading your Bible so that you can write fan fiction, well, I’d say that’s a problem and you need to put Christ back into the number one spot. There shouldn’t be competition between Elvis and Christ. And it shouldn’t be difficult to let Elvis go, if that ever became a need.
Ask yourself these questions to determine whether you are idolizing or worshiping Elvis:
- Could you live without Elvis?
- Does it consume tons of your time daily?
- Do you sometimes pick Elvis over God?
Be honest now!
If you honestly feel that you’re putting Elvis before God, then here’s what I think you should do:
- Think about how much time to devote to Elvis vs. Jesus. If you’re spending more time with Elvis, schedule him less. You don’t have to remove him completely from your life, but he has to be dialed back so that Christ is elevated to the point of your first priority.
- Spend some days without Elvis. If you can’t spend a whole day without him, then that’s a problem. There really shouldn’t be anything in your life that you can’t live without, except for God.
- Pray and read your Bible. Ask God to keep you focused on Him. Read your Bible every day and stay focused on the Word. You will be able to recognize whether your interest in Elvis is actually idolatry if you read your Bible.
- Read a past PI article titled “What’s at the Heart of Idolatry?” I think that that would be helpful to you.
Good luck and God bless!
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