Idols. Idol worship. Idolatry. What do you think of when you read those words? My guess is that most people’s first thoughts would be a golden calf or a hindu shrine or some religious ritual in a foreign country. That’s certainly the first thing I thought of! The reality is however, that while those idols are bad to worship too, we don’t realise how similar they are to the idols worshipped in our own lives! Have you ever considered that idolatry is not just limited to Bible times and various religions around the world? Worshipping idols is real, it’s dangerous and it can happen sometimes without us even realising it. Just because we aren’t worshipping Buddha or offering sacrifices to a wooden elephant with a billion arms and legs doesn’t mean there isn’t anything that we’re placing above God in our lives. Whether it’s smoking, sex, popularity or a boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, Jesus is the only One with the right to be at the centre of our lives. Galatians 5:19-21 says “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” When reading that passage, one tends to skip over ‘idolatry’ and concentrate instead on the seemingly ‘more relevant’ works of the flesh such as sexual immorality and drunkenness, but Tim Keller says that sin stems from idolatry. This makes sense considering that idolatry is “making something seem more important than God” (Tim Keller again, via adrianwarnock.com). Therefore, idol worship is serious business – it’s not something to be ignored or looked over! The issue of idolatry in people’s lives is relevant – it’s the first of the ten commandments in the Bible (Exodus 1: 3-17). Later on in that chapter (Exodus 1:22-23) God says it again – “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.’ “. In that context, God was speaking literally, but it is just as relevant for us today. In Western culture we don’t tend to make gods of silver or gods of gold, but we make gods out of things such as looking good, out of intelligence, money, power, acceptance from other people, sex, drugs, smoking, attention. Some of these things aren’t bad unless we allow them to take top priority, but all of these things can take the place that only God has the right to if we aren’t careful. The point is, our hearts were sinful from the very beginning. We can’t help but sin everyday, and we can’t help but naturally build up other gods for ourselves. This is why we need to ask for a fresh perspective on just how much God has done for us, just how much we need to be honouring Him and we need to be praying fervently for a greater passion to worship and glorify Him. We are in battle, but we can’t win by our own strength. We need someone to fight for us, to fight with us, to equip us and guide us; He’s the One.
He’s the One