God commanded us not to make carved images of him. This is the most obvious form of idolatry. There is a more subtle and dangerous form. When we form mental images or even theological concepts of God that are not based on his true image, then we are also guilty of idolatry. However, unlike an idol, it is not easy to detect or correct this “thought idol.”
The most obvious test of your concept of God is simply looking closely at your life. If we are serious about following God then our lives tend to become like God and his commands.
If our lives are full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, and gentleness then we know that God is living in us and our concept of God is consistent with Scripture.
However, if our lives are full of strife, sorrow, impatience, rudeness, evil, unfaithfulness, self-indulgence and harshness then we have either failed in following Jesus, or we have lived up to a faulty concept of God.
One reason the Pharisees and Jesus clashed so often is that they both lived faithfully to their concepts of God. Jesus’ God was a loving Father who wants relationship with all his children. The Pharisees had an image of God as a strict, exclusive, demanding, angry Ruler. They became like their image of God. So did Jesus. So will you!