In our country we have many forms of idolatry. Idolatry is not just defined as a carven image that we worship. We hold up money, celebrities, ideals, our selfish desires higher then God. We even mistakenly tell ourselves God values those things as much as we do. Even unselfish actions and objects higher then that of having a relationship with out creator. We are constantly redefining idolatry, so we can feel better when we partake in it. Does that object or action control your life or does God control it?
First, we need to define an idol. The definition from Webster’s dictionary is,
Definition of idol
1 : a representation or symbol of an object of worship; broadly : a false god
2 a : a likeness of something
b obsolete : pretender, impostor
3 : a form or appearance visible but without substance
an enchanted phantom, a lifeless idol —P. B. Shelley
4 : an object of extreme devotion a movie idol; also : ideal 2
5 : a false conception : fallacy
“Idol.” Merriam-Webster.com, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idol. Accessed 4 May 2018
So, let’s examine the two that relates to the practice of idol worship, definition one and four. Definition 1 is the definition that we think of first when someone says “idol,” given someone isn’t talking about their car issues. The most basic thing we think about is a carven image. In our culture it is not a literal carven image. It even could be a character in a television show or a movie. It is an image that the writer created that we idolize as a righteous character or a character that is represented of us or our culture. An avatar then in a sense as idol worship. An idol like in #4 definition is when you have extreme devotion to something that can get in the way of your devotion to God. You elevate that person or thing higher then yourself when God should be the only thing worshiped higher then yourself. This verse expands on the definition of what is considered idol worship.
Colossians 3:5 (NASB)
“Therefore consider the members of you earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”
When you hold on to sin and give it worth and value to yourself it becomes idolatry. In our digital age today, there is not only sin but object we value way too much. Ironically in our church we value leaders within Christian philosophy and thought. We count their political opinions and opinions of the bible more important that the truth we find when we read the bible ourselves. We don’t rate each thing they say with the bible. We then take their opinions as truth. There is a cult of personality we love in each of these thought leaders. When you start saying that a person’s lies, or misdeeds doesn’t matter we look back and realize that our country has become more secularized and doesn’t look familiar at all.
We easily create false prophets and false teachers when we value their personality and not the truth of the word of God. When we turn these pastors, teachers, politicians, missionaries into celebrities then their weaknesses are valued as truth. Also, we put attributes on these idols that don’t exist in themselves. These people don’t strengthen their weaknesses because society tells them they don’t have any.
We put our time above God. We put our lives around things that have no value and doesn’t expand the God’s kingdom. We call things community outreach when that community outreach has nothing to do with God and only entertains ourselves and is pointless and a waste of time. When it doesn’t fulfill God’s purpose and we give it importance we are even turning something we call as “community outreach” into an idol. God wants all of our time and our attention.
1 Corinthians 10:14-22 (NASB)
“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God’ and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are We?”
Yes, I quoted a long passage. As Christians we should not be prone to idolatry of any sort. When we sacrifice our time, life, attention to things not of God who are we giving that to? God wants all of us. It is described in many passages in the bible. Our culture is constantly giving ourselves to things that are not holy and not bound to God’s truth. It is important for you to not put anything before God. He is a Jealous God. He gave us the Son’s life. Shouldn’t he have all of ours?