We need not wrestle with whether we have or have had an idol. Tim Keller in his book Counterfeit Gods defines an idol as "anything that becomes more fundamental than God to your happiness, meaning in life, and identity." He goes on to say that a fake god is "anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living." Keller sums up the power of an idol like this: "We do not control ourselves. We are controlled by the lord of our lives."
Are you feeling a bit uncomfortable about now? Yes, we have had idols. We fight idolatry continually. Our minds are drawn to what we make, feel, and see. G. K. Beale in his book We Become what we Worship observes that "All humans have been created to be reflecting beings, and they will reflect whatever they are ultimately committed to, whether the true God or some other object in the created order."
Why should I be worried about an idol in my life? For starters the Bible says that our God is intolerant of disloyalty [jealous]. Isa. 42:8 says ""I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images."
God views anything in my life that commands the major sum of my energies as a rival to Himself. Idols are distractions. But they are more than just distractions. They consume our money, energies, and our plans. God wants us to always make a distinction between himself as the Creator, and the finite creation that He has made. To run after the gifts and ignore the giver is to walk the path of idolatry. There is another name for what we are talking about. Idolatry sounds serious, but worship... that sounds like crossing the line. And that is the point of Ex. 20:3-5"You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image...You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God..."
What is it that rocks your boat, that makes you worry or become frustrated or angry? That is an idol because it is pulling you away from God and placing itself in God's stead in your life? Take the other side: What is it that makes you feel accepted, loved, even valued and temporarily, at least, happy? If it is not God, then you have an idol. Idols cannot stay. God will do surgery on us, sometimes without anesthetic. It is better that we throw out the "bums" and return to the only one worthy of God-status in our lives. Do it now. Think it through.