Sorry to tell you this, but we’re not done with facets. There are a ton of these things. But I promise you, this won’t be boring. Just looking at the title of this sections, you’re probably thinking, “Idols? Seriously? What, do you think I have a golden calf in my living room? Get real!” I can understand that. A lot of times, because of its manifestation in other time periods and/or cultures, people think of idols and idolatry as an outdated and creepy religious practice in which people worship statues. While that is idolatry, it is simply a form of idolatry. That is how the sin of idolatry was manifested in certain cultures and time periods. But in modern times, idolatry is a much stealthier sin. Idolatry is still as common as ever, but these days, it tends to be a kind of ninja-sin, something we never really think about or even notice.
If you’re wondering what this nutcase is even talking about, I apologize. Allow me to explain. Idolatry is really, quite simply, the act of placing something above God, for any amount of time. That doesn’t mean you have to build a statue and worship it. It simply means that you’ve taken something in your life, anything, and placed it above God. So often, we don’t even realize we’re doing that. We don’t make a conscious decision to put our social status above our relationship with God. We don’t wake up one morning and think, “You know, I think I’m going to love my PS4 more than God today.” But without realizing it, we do just that.
To put something before God is so easy, and we may not even realize we’re doing it. But step back and take a look at your life. When you have the choice, do you read the Bible, or The Hobbit? When you have time to kill, do you choose to go volunteer at a community outreach project, or pig out on popcorn and have a Star Trek marathon? It’s the little decisions than can really pull us away.
Now, I’m not saying that any of these things are bad. But when we notice that we’re consistently putting other things higher on our priority lists than God, then there’s a problem. Ultimately, we’re choosing to love other things more than we love God. That’s not OK. When you see that happening to you, it’s time to reevaluate your life.
As a Christian, you are a child of God! You have the incredible privilege of serving God on earth! And you’re busy eating nachos and watching football! Isn’t that a problem?
Turning aside from these idols that so often steal into our lives may seem like a difficult job. But ultimately, it just comes down to the little choices. Remember how much you love God, and want to show him that. Constantly ask yourself- what am I doing for the Lord right now? How am I serving and glorifying Him as I do this? That doesn’t mean you can’t have recreational time. It doesn’t mean it’s a sin to go to a baseball game. It simply means that we need to remember where those things are on our priority list. If you’ve been spending more time on the things of the world than on God, then you have a problem that you need to solve. I think that all of us, in our own way, sometimes struggle with putting things before God.
The most harmful thing to any human relationship is placing something above the other person. If you love something or someone else more than them, it causes serious damage to the relationship. Thousands of marriages have been destroyed because one spouse or the other chose to love another person more than their spouse, or to value their video games more than their husband/wife. This same principle applies to our quest to love God to the utmost. The Bible says that Christ loves the Church like a man loves his bride, and that the Church should love God in the same way- like a woman loves her husband. By allowing idols into our lives and placing things before God, we are being an unfaithful bride and chasing other “lovers” rather than God. This cannot exist in a healthy relationship with God. We need to learn to cast aside those things that can come between us and God.
When Jesus called the first disciples, He didn’t want them to volunteer to help him between noon and four every other Thursday. He didn’t want anything to come before Him. He wanted all or nothing. Peter, James, and John left their entire lives behind when they walked away from their fishing boats and followed Christ to become “fishers of men.” This is same devotion God wants from us- all or nothing. We need to hold nothing back from God, and keep no “idols” hidden in our lives. Every day, we need to pray: “Jesus, I don’t want anything to come in between you and me. I want to hold nothing back from you, Lord. Help me to kill those idols that seek to draw me away.” Remember, in the quest to love God more, it’s important that we always ask Him for the strength we need to do so, because we can’t do it on our own. Just remember- push aside those things that you’re putting before God. They don’t deserve the love you give them- only God does. In order to love God fully, we can’t be splitting up our love. We need to focus it all on Him. Only then can we achieve our true potential for loving our Lord and Savior.