Six Roads That Lead To The Idol Of Career

While our ultimate fulfillment can only be found in God, sin often tempts us to seek it in other sources. This leads to idolatry, where we turn to people, activities, or things as false providers of hope, peace, and satisfaction. 

A prominent idol that many of us face is the idol of career. Worshipping career is to find in a job what can and should ultimately be found in Christ. The idol of career is tricky, though– we don’t always know when we’re drifting in its direction. The following are six roads that lead us toward the worship of careers over Christ. 

1. Recognition

Sometimes, the pathway to the idol of a career is a desire to be noticed. This desire creates in us a longing to be affirmed by others and finds the best expression of that through career. You’ll know you’re on this road if your reward at work is to be noticed by others, whether it is peers, supervisors, or others.

2. Materialism

Like the previous road, this road is a desire for something that might be achieved through the idol of career. Often times idols come in pairs, and this idol always needs a means by which to obtain and worship it. The idol of career becomes a vehicle that unlocks and makes materialism possible. You’ll know you’re on this road if you soothe yourself with things in the midst of a stressful work season. 

3. Power

This road differs from the first two in the sense that it values the authority that a successful career provides. Whether it is power over coworkers or power in the world, the desire for power leads to the idol of career because it sees power over others as important and career as the best path to achieving it. You’ll know you’re on this road if success in your job means more people looking to you for direction and answers.

4. Comparison

The road of comparison is similar to the road of recognition but slightly different. This road desires to do better than important people in one’s life. Whether it be a parent, sibling, or friend, this road sees being better than them as most important. This desire then culminates into the idol of worship. You’ll know you’re on this road if there is a certain person you compare yourself to at work often. 

5. Fear of Failure

This road is birthed from believing you’re on your own. Because failure is the worst scenario, this road leads to the idol of career in that it over-prioritizes our effort while ignoring God’s sovereignty over the world. Whether it be financial or positional failure, this road leads to the idol of career because it sees achievement in life as only possible via work.

6. Escape

The road of escape leads to the idol of career as a response to pain in another area of life. Whether it be a broken marriage, wayward children, or unresolved personal issues, this road finds healing in over-working and career sucess. You’ll know you’re on this road if seasons of over-working correspond with moments of emotional or spiritual stress. 

 If you find yourself on any of these roads, turn around! Each of these believes that Christ is not enough, and that we have to take matters into our own hands. Instead, let these roads lead you to Christ. Find more joy in being in Christ than being known by others. Instead of materialism, use your money to bless others. Leverage your power to preserve justice and equity. Don’t compare yourself to others, instead turn people’s eyes to Jesus. Resist the fear of failure, and instead rest in the power of God to keep you. Find wholeness in Christ rather than escapism through work. In all these, let’s agree with Psalm 63:3 by believing that Jesus’ steadfast love is better than life– even our careers. 


Next Step:

Do you want help turning from the idol of career? Consider joining a Providence Life Group. Our groups are a helpful place to connect with others and become the person God designed you to be. If you’re interested in finding out about some of the other idols we’ll dismantle in our monthly young adult gatherings, click here.