December 17, 2023

For those of us who grew up learning about the many sins of the Israelites in the Old Testament, it was easy to associate idolatry with a false god like Baal or even the golden calf that Aaron and the people built while Moses was up on the mountain. As a child, I couldn’t help wondering how those Israelites could be so stupid. In fact, I was quite proud of myself for not having any wooden or golden idols in my room to bow down to and worship. When I read the 1st commandment I went ahead and checked that one off the list – no need to worry about that one since I already had it perfected. Or, so I thought.

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image…” 

Exodus 20:3-4

I’ve come to realize my early self-confidence was painfully shortsighted as I’ve matured in faith and grown in understanding what the 1st commandment actually means. Golden calves and wooden carvings may not be in abundance in our modern context, but there are idols everywhere. Power, status, popularity, money, beauty, sports, exercise, coffee, alcohol, drugs, entertainment, children, spouses, cars, sex, the list goes on and on. 

It may be strange to place coffee on a list of modern day idols. But, there was a time in my own life that I made choices around coffee. As ridiculous as it may sound, I planned routes based on passing by certain coffee shops. I thought about when I could get my next coffee as I was drinking the one I’d just bought. Coffee had taken a stronghold in my life and a place in my heart and mind where it didn’t belong. I’m not suggesting coffee is evil! There’s nothing inherently wrong with drinking and enjoying coffee. In fact, it’s still one of my favorite beverages, but I had to change its position in my life. And that’s the point of the 1st commandment. It’s not meant to consign you to a life of misery and asceticism where you deny yourself all enjoyment for fear of angering God. The 1st commandment is all about recognizing God for who He is and allowing nothing to take His place.

So, what does it actually mean to violate the 1st commandment and commit idolatry? In his letter to the Colossians, Paul points to at least one form of idolatry in chapter 3

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5

Covetousness isn’t a word we use very much. It’s also known as greediness or jealousy, and according to Scripture it is a form of idolatry. At its root, covetousness is a condition of the heart – an insatiable desire to find fulfillment, meaning and purpose in things instead of God. How do we commit idolatry? We elevate things above God in our everyday life.

Each of our lives are impacted and influenced by a wide range of circumstances and contexts. It can be difficult to push through all of the busyness and distractions that encourage idolatry at every turn and fix our focus on God. My husband and I are in a season of life where we spend much more time raising children and working than we do in prayer and Bible study. If you were to break down the hours of your day, you too would likely find an imbalance in the time you spend on your “primary” tasks and those things you’d call spiritual disciplines. But, God has not asked us to neglect our kids, quit our jobs, or lay aside our lives to become monks and nuns.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

The truth is, I can raise my kids to the glory of God or I can make my kids an idol by elevating them above God. I can approach work with an attitude of glorifying God or I can make my career an idol by elevating it above God. I can enjoy hobbies, sports, and recreation to the glory of God or I can make those things idols by elevating them above God. Our time with God certainly includes a set apart time of intimacy in prayer and Bible study, but we don’t leave God when we step out of that quiet time and into the rest of the day. There may be tasks that take up more time than prayer or Bible study or worship, and those tasks can be done for the glory of God – everything we do or say or think should have Him at the heart of it all. Everything is for Him.

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

How do we live victorious over idols? How can we conquer this struggle as we are so prone to wander from God as humans? The answer is easy and hard. Make God your focus in everything. Allow the Spirit to be the one leading and guiding you. Your life’s purpose is to follow Him. If you wake up with that on your mind everyday, it will help you identify idols that try to get in the way. 

By Brooke Russell, Professional Counselor

Training and Discipleship

The Cord of 3 training and discipleship program serves the community by offering educational seminars on various mental health and related topics (parenting subjects, coping with loss, warning signs of addiction) as well as conferences, retreats, and seminars for area churches on matters that pertain to God’s design for the family.

Counselor Education & Supervision

Cord of 3’s Counselor education and supervision program is deigned to support interns who are completing their master’s degree, counselors who are working toward licensure, and professionals who are working to integrate their Chritian faith into their clinical practice.

Equine Therapy

Cord of 3’s equine therapy program is designed for individuals ages 7 and up as well as women ages 13+ and families. Equine therapy can help individuals and families overcome challenges, cuiltivate healthy relational skills, build trust, improve interpersonal and behavioral functioning, and create positive self-concept and identity in Christ.

Play God’s Way

A Christ-centered play therapy model to meet teh spiritual, emotional, and mental health needs of children. Through play therapy, children learn to accept responsibility for behavior, engage in healthy coping strategies, acquire problem-solving skills, develop empathy for others, and gain an understanding of identity in mChrist.


Addictions always originate in pain… The question is never ‘why the addiction?,’ but rather ‘why the pain?’” (Dr. Gabor Maté). Counselors can help those struggling with addictions address underlying painful issues and then break the addictive patterns.

Child & Adolescent

Behavioral issues at home or in school often have an underlying cause, such as trauma, depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions. The experienced staff at Cord of 3 meets each child with love, builds trust, and applies effective treatment that approaches the root cause of the behavior.

Marriage & Family

As in couple’s counseling, family counseling focuses on the relationship and dynamics within the family unit and between the individual members of it. Counselors will help clients identify unhealthy or unhelpful patterns, and to address them by developing healthier communication and conflict resolutions skills, create realistic expectations, and restructure familial roles to benefit everyone. The ultimate goal is to help the family be better able to thrive as a team.


Every person will at some point have at least one potentially traumatic experience, but this doesn’t impact everyone in the same ways. When struggling to process and move on from negative life experiences, therapy offers a powerful method of finding support and healing.


Individual counseling can help overcome the sometimes overwhelming fear and hopelessness by helping you better understand the conditions that led to the emotional brokenness you are experiencing, and applying healthy coping skills against them.