Monday, June 22, 2009

Against the Idolatry We All Get Into

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you” –Psalm 73:25 (TNIV).
We’re all guilty, in the strictest sense, of this sin against God. But in his grace, God does not convict us--though we ought to convict ourselves. We’re guilty of idolatry, every single one of us--almost without exception. If we care we should allow the Holy Spirit to convict us toward repenting of it each time we fall into its snare.

Idolatry is the “worship of deity made visible, whether of true or false ideas, in images, pictures, stars, fire, or ideal statements, as shown in business pursuits or pleasure, or for honor, where self if preferred above the honor and glory of God.”[1]

Common forms of idolatry today involve worship of food and drink, football teams, pornography (both soft and hard varieties), money, cars and other possessions, and even our children (and grandchildren). Ambition is often idolatrous--like the thoughts of striving for that promotion. When we seek glory for ourselves, also, we fall. Whenever we lose self-control of our desires or achieve imbalance we’ve entered idolatrous territory.

By this I mean, whenever we put God into the shade and put the thing or pursuit up in his place, we’ve fallen for it. I know that I seem to constantly struggle with portion control regarding my diet, yet I only struggle when I’ve not asked God to replace this desire with more of him.

Like most men, I might notice a pretty woman walk past and be tempted to admire the created thing, not the Creator. For God this must be maddening! This is not because he’s so vain that he needs our worship, for God does not need our worship; he knows, however, that we need to worship him for our own good.

Simple life rule: worship not the created thing and we at once realise true freedom and perspective.

Yet, a continuing success over idolatry is a day by day affair contingent on our relationship with God. There is nothing more difficult--to steer constantly clear of idolatry; but an approach toward an unstinting commitment to growing in God is a fervent defence. It is the power of God over evil that triumphs each and every time. Like with most things, we either go forwards or backwards in life--there’s no standing still.

This is not just about being a Bible-believing Christian--it’s very much about leading a successful life, for no one who engages in rampant idolatry succeeds in life for long. It’s only wise to worship God.

Worship the Creator or you will worship the created thing. If we take the approach of the psalmist at top, however, we will be truly saved, one pure and perfect moment after another. And it’s the closest thing to reality; the earth has nothing on God.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

[1] Smith’s, Bible Dictionary (Ohio, Barbour Publishing, 1937), p. 134.

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