You shall have no other gods before me.Exodus 20:3
The first commandment of the ten commandments is not to have any other god before the Lord God, Almighty. that’s significant, don’t you agree? Welcome to 2023, and this year, we’re kicking things off right away with a way to start the new year that pleases God. My first advice for the new year is this: have no other gods before God. Let’s jump right in see where we’re heading with this.
So, I’ve been sitting on the topic of idolatry for a while now, I think since summer ’22. God had specifically told me to focus on idol worshiping for 2023. I’ve looked into it, and don’t worry, there are still plenty of other topics I’ll get to discuss this year as well, but the focus will be on idolatry. Why? Because Christians have become idol worshippers and we don’t even realize it.
Idolatry: the worship of a physical object as a god; immoderate attachment or devotion to something (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
Our worship belongs to God. What you worship, who you worship, both of these depict your loyalty. It is like branding yourself as belonging to someone. So when we worship something or someone that isn’t God, we have given our loyalty to that thing or person and branded ourselves as theirs. We’ll get more into that throughout the year. For now, let me just break down more of the basics.
In 1 Corinthians 10:14, we are instructed to flee from idolatry. But why?
Because Colossians 3:5 tells us that idolatry is our earthly nature. Which just means that our spiritual nature would be worship. Do you get it?
Idolatry is the tainted version of worship, which is a spiritual practice that is meant to bring us closer to God, and pay our gratitude to Him. However, just like in the Garden of Eden, Satan has put his own twist on worship and from the darkness, idolatry was birthed. That’s why idolatry is one of the three temptations of the devil. When he tried to tempt Jesus, telling Him to bow down and worship him, Jesus rebuked the devil (Luke 4:8). We’ll also take a deeper looking into this later, and we’ll come to understand why worship is so significant.
Three Keys to Recognizing Idolatry
There are ways to recognize when you’ve begun to idolize something or someone:
- This object is your focus:
- Sometimes it’s hard to notice when something is ‘consuming‘ us. A lot of people say we should be able to recognize idolatry, but most people don’t. It can kind of sneak up on you. Most times, idolatry is birthed out of admiration. We admire someone, or really like something, but slowly it begins to become the most important thing or person in the world. That’s when idolatry has laid it’s first seed.
- This object has no flaws:
- A lot of people think celebrities have no flaws, forgetting that they’re just humans. Which is kind of shocking today, that this mindset still exists, when a random kid can go viral for doing something that a bunch of people think is funny. Nonetheless, said viral person is now the object of your admiration, and you can see no flaws. They’re totally perfect, and you’re willing to standing your ground against anyone to prove this.
- This object’s mistakes are ignored:
- When you willingly look away from the wrong someone does, firstly, that’s so wrong. It’s the reason why the American justice system is so crunk (old slang there) now! But, I digress… Ignoring the wrong someone does, or the wrong this object can cause you is a tell tale sign that you’ve begun idol worshipping. Use a car for example. You enjoy riding in your car so much that you’ve neglected other responsibilities just for a joy ride. A seed of idolatry is there.
OKKKK, we’ve barely scratched the surface with this, but it’s my birthday and I’ve gotten tired from bowling all day and eating whatever I wanted, so I’m going to be a lazy bum and end things here. However, I want you to take a look at those three keys I laid out for you above. Look at them and decide for yourself if you’re idol worshipping. If you are, kick it to the curb! If you’re not sure how, then stay tuned.