You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3 ESV)
I expect to get a resounding NONE from everyone before reading this. I want to caution you to pause before getting angry and tell me that I have lost my mind because you do not worship any idols at all. Let me first explain to you what idolatry involves. Idolatry can be viewed as anyone who worships anything that is not God, or one giving their allegiance to anyone or anything other than God Almighty. You still might not think you are involved in idolatry. Allow me to share with you what the great reformer Martin Luther stated, he said, “Whatever your heart clings to and relies upon, that is your God…” If our heart places anything in front of our Lord and Savior, we are worshipping at the altar of an idol. This is very scary!
This very issue calls for all of us to do some serious self-examination; it also calls for us to be brutally honest with ourselves and admit the areas we fall short in by placing other things before the One we say is our Lord. There are many who feel that worshipping an idol relates to bowing down to some type of statue or something that we mold, shape or carve out and bow to. Well, I’ve got news for you, when you are constantly in pursuit of anything more than God, you are worshiping an idol.
There are many examples we can look at that relates to the issue of idol worship. Allow me to present a few of them to you. There are those who worship at the altar of Relationships, that is, the individual that is in your life, you have made them your all in all. Many times you compromise the will of God in order to please the one you are in the relationship with. There are those who worship at the altar of their possessions. They place such a high value upon the things they have that if anything happens to any one of those things they cherish, they become either enraged or despondent. There are those who worship at the altar of their house. They are those who will not allow you to enter into certain rooms or do anything that will cause something to be out of place. There are those who worship at the altar of sports and entertainment. It never fails, these individuals will neglect worshiping the Lord God Almighty, whom they say, saved them. They find it easy to tell God, I have to stay home and watch the game today. They will spend a tremendous amount of money buying tickets in order to fly somewhere to a sporting event, play or some other venue for entertainment; while neglecting to give to the Lord. Lastly, there are those who worship at the altar of self. They are those who if they don’t feel like it…whatever it is, they won’t do it, even if is for the Lord. If you are worshiping at the altar of self, you might want to remember the words of Jesus, when He said, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” The key word is “deny.” Deny means to act in a totally selfless manner. Since that is the case, we must stop worshiping at the altar of self.
If you are placing anything ahead of the Lord whom you say saved you, you are worshiping an idol. Stop and think about it, those things we place in front of the One who totally sustains us, is downright foolishness. If you are pursuing anything rightly belonging to God, be it sex, fame, status, relationships, children, sports and entertainment, it has become an idol. If you go to great lengths in order to protect something, and the Lord allows it to become damaged. If you react in such a way that you become depressed, it has become an idol. I have found that many do go to any length to stand up for the honor of the One whom they say saved them.
I want to close out by putting something on your mind. Think about the One who, first of all, saved you. Think about the One who, protects you from every unimaginable thing you could ever think about. Think about the One who provides for you a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, shoes on your feet, a car to drive or a bus pass. A place of employment. Think about the One who provides you and I a reasonable portion of health and strength. Think about the One who is slow to anger and plenteous in mercy when we go and act like a fool. Think about the One who wakes you up every day. And lastly, think about the One who gave His only begotten Son to die for you and I to have a right to eternal life, and has a place in heaven awaiting us to come spend all of eternity with Him. Now, let me ask you, why would you give your allegiance to anyone or anything else? Do not be foolish!
Your servant in Christ,