Idolatry is really a funny practice. Funny strange, not funny Ha Ha. If you take time to think about it… it’s pretty weird, right? The prophet Isaiah talked about this nearly 2700 years ago.
Isaiah 44:8-17 Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. They that make a graven image are all of them vanity…He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak…he burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.
He talks about the stupidity of an axman taking down a tree, chopping it in half, using one part to make a fire to warm him, and fashioning the other part into a god. Talk about insanity.
Think about this from God’s perspective. You have created with love a wonderful creation, that creature rejects your love and authority and chooses rather to chop down a tree and pray to it. Talk about cosmic frustration. We in the modern age laugh at such silliness, knowing ourselves to be so high above such primitive practices. Yet is it not true that we too are guilty of crafting silly gods and making idols out of truly dumb things?
1. That thing that keeps you from church
The people of God are to assemble for the purpose of study, prayer, worship, fellowship and encouragement (Heb. 10:24-25). We call this church. However, many modern Christians willingly sacrifice their church time on the altar of their hobby, sport, or career. There is nothing wrong with pursuing a successful career, but if your career doesn’t allow you time to worship with your local assemble of believers it may be that you are making a god out of your career. There is nothing wrong with watching television, going to the movies, traveling, family time, shopping, flying model airplanes, playing video games, etc.
However, when these things begin to overpower and overshadow your relationship with God, it may be that you have a problem. Sports are wonderful! However, some have allowed a simple pastime to keep them from weekly worship. Stop! Don’t get upset with me. Simply ask yourself if what I’m saying may have some truth. An indication that your hobby has become too important might be when your hobby continually keeps you from Christian assembly. Another indication that something has become a god in your life is becoming upset and growing defensive when someone attacks your hobby / god. Some of the gods we make begin as innocent hobbies that have become a little too important. Today I risk the wrath of any idol worshipper who wants to desperately defend their false god. Remember, I too struggle to keep God in first place. We are all in this thing together.
2. That thing that keeps you from dependence
God wants to be first place in your life (Ex. 34:14). He desires for you to come to Him alone for all of your needs. However, sometimes we set up other people in our lives to play the role of God. I shared the truth with our small group last week that I personally struggle in this area. I am surrounded by loving and competent people in my life. REALLY! Those of you who know Heather will agree that she is not only incredibly smart but also very godly and has a keen understanding of life. God has given my Fred, Jason, & Steve. These highly skilled men could be working anywhere but they have been led by God to help me in this work. I can go to them at any time for anything. And, quite often, they will have a great solution. I have become dependent upon them. I have a father/mentor who is not only still living but very intelligent, relevant, and holy. My deacons remind me of Aaron & Hur as they lift me up through my battles of life. I have more men & women in my life who are and always have been dependable. A blessing¬ – without question – a potential problem? Yep!
You see, if I’m not careful I can allow myself to seek everyone else for assistance when I need to be seeking after God alone. These other people, though good, are not God. I am learning that I cannot allow myself to make a god out of any of them. Let me ask you, the reader, do you struggle with this? Is your husband your functional messiah? Do you place your hope for happiness in your employer or corporation? Has your physician become more than merely a doctor in your deepest heart? Does your portfolio / bank account bring you peace at night? Be careful not to make a god out of something that is merely good.
3. That thing that keeps you from your destiny
Your creator created you for a specific purpose. One of the great joys of life is discovering what that is and fulfilling your destiny. However, so many unique and wonderful people have wasted away their lives following after lesser things. Some have followed after a dream that was never placed in their heart by God. They have sought it, worshiped it, fought for it and lived for it. Some of these dear people will never even see this “knock-off” dream come to fruition. Others will, only to find great disappointment and emptiness in accomplishing a goal that was never intended for them.
I believe that our God is a dream-giver. I believe that if you seek after God that He will place a dream in your heart that will explain precisely why you were created. To fulfill your destiny will bring fulfillment to you and great joy to others. However, men and women are often tricked by our ancient enemy who will offer you a “knock-off” dream, one that is a cheap imitation of the real deal. To fall in love with that dream, to seek after and worship a goal apart from a personal relationship with your creator will never lead to true satisfaction. Some worship a dream or goal that God never intended for them. They will sacrifice anything to this god. Family, friends, peace, love, purpose are all easily placed upon the altar with hopes that this “dream” will come true. This is just as silly as the axman bowing down before his wooden stump.
Have you ever found yourself edging in on idolatry like I have? Which one of these 3 areas have you struggled with? Please join the conversation and comment below: