09 Nov Idolatry Isn’t Distant
The sin of idolatry.
Such a hard line.
But what is idolatry anyway? The worship of golden calves and statues, right? My life is totally free of animal worship, and gold worship, and lust for shiny things, and status, and self-honor, — wait.
If I am careful not to distance myself from the Israelites of Exodus who received this command, I may come to recognize that my struggles bear a distinct resemblance. And I will find that my life is actually covered in this sticky thing called idolatry.
A closer look at idolatry yields these words:
– Worship: where self is preferred above the honor and glory of God.
– Excessive or blind adoration, reverence, devotion, etc.
– Worship of images or other material objects other than God.
Ah, idolatry. Worship of images. What image do I worship? Myself.
“If I am careful not to distance myself from the Israelites of Exodus who received this command, I may come to recognize that my struggles bear a distinct resemblance.”
I am a stay-at-home mom, and I spend my days homeschooling my two boys, shuffling them to sports programs, writing part-time, meal planning, grocery shopping, laundry folding, floor scrubbing, errand running, dish-washing, and on and on. Do I do all of this in worshipful response to Him? My day begins with a focused response, but as the day wanes on I can see a shift of that devotion from the work of my Lord to the work of my own hands all too often.
It is painfully true to admit. Everything I love has a tendency to point back to me. I give thanks for the victories, but I still smile at myself. I serve Him with a dose of self-service. I am devoted to the ideal image of my life—obsessing over all the things. There is more than pure godly honor in my daily toils, and it looks ugly. Social media, with its relentless torrent of “notifications,” keeps me in-the-know of who likes my this, my that, my here, my there, my life — my latest image of me. I know this! And I am careful to choose my words and careful to choose my focus. Yet the pings are so terribly satisfying.
The fact is that while I worship a Sovereign God, my excessive adoration can take me from that mountain to the golden calves I worship on a daily basis. I have one calf that looks like me and the life I tend to worship. And another that my hands go to every few minutes–it’s not called prayer, it’s called an iPhone.
“It is painfully true to admit. Everything I love has a tendency to point back to me.”
“Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” —Psalm 115:8 (NIV)
The Bible is clear that all things relating to idolatry express worthlessness, vanity, contempt, and abhorrence. If we become what we behold, then I can either become more like Christ (in selfless devotion) or become more unlike Christ (in selfish devotion). It all depends on what I behold in these daily moments and where my focus remains. Does the fruit of my own labor deserve my devotion? Or is there no fruit of my own labor to speak of (since every blessing comes from God)? What do my actions show? What does my heart cry?
“The Bible is clear that all things relating to idolatry express worthlessness, vanity, contempt, and abhorrence.”
“They exchanged truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.” —Romans 1:25 (NIV)
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” —Romans 12:2 (NIV)
I never understood idolatry in this way before. Now that I do, my heart response is repentance, my hands fold in prayer, and my lips ask for renewal and transformation.