(Joseph Philpot, "Idolatry" 1852)

"They tell how you turned to God from idols
 to serve the living and true God." 1 Thes. 1:9

Nothing is too small or too insignificant
which, at times, may not be an idol.

What is an idol?

Something my carnal mind loves.

How may I know whether my carnal mind loves it?

When we think of it, and are very much pleased with
it. We pet it, love and fondle it, dallying and playing
with it, like a mother with her babe. See how she
takes the little thing and gazes at it. Her eyes are
fixed on it; she dotes upon it because she loves it.

Thus we may know an idol if we examine our own
hearts, by what our imagination, desires and secret
thoughts are going out after.

Instead of being spiritually minded, having his
heart and affections in heaven, he has something
in his mind which it is going out after; something
or other laying hold of the affections.

The child of God has, more or less, all these
propensities working within. There is idolatry in
every man's heart.
How deep this idolatry is
rooted in a man's heart! How it steals upon his
soul! Whatever is indulged in, how it creeps over
him, until it gets such power that it becomes master.

A man does not know himself, if he does not
know what power this idolatry has over him.

None but God can make the man know it; and
when the Lord delivers him, he then turns to
God and says, "What a vile wretch I have been!
What a monster to go after these idols, loving
this thing, and that. A wretch, a monster of
iniquity, the vilest wretch that ever crawled
on the face of God's earth, for my wicked
heart to go out after these idols!"

When the soul is brought down to a sense of its
vileness and loathsomeness, and God's patience
and forbearance, it turns to God from idols, to
serve the only living and true God, who pardons
the idolater.