Idolatry: More Than a Statue?

Idolatry…

When we read our Bibles, it is so easy to look at idolatry and see it as statues and made up gods. We see statues and false gods which people would turn to because they seemed so much more understandable than the God of Israel. Yet, because of our advancement as humans, we have for the most part moved past the belief that gods can reside in statues.

About a year ago I watched a sermon series of Andy Stanley’s because of some flack he caught for it. One of his main points in this series was that these gods that people bowed down to were no worshiped out of reverence, but out of fear and what these gods could give. People worshiped gods like Zeus for power and Aphrodite for love. While no one worships these gods today, we often times still worship the characteristics of these gods which people wanted.

Yet, the largest area of idolatry which people are falling into is that of themselves. I have nothing against doing things which make you happy and you enjoy, yet that should never become our first priority. I was reading an article the other day about why students are choosing sports over church and they listed a number of reasons for why the acknowledged. Here are the 10 reasons listed:

  1. THE APPLAUSE: students love the applause they receive in sports when they succeed.
  2. THE TEAM: Kids choose sports because they belong to a group of people that has unity, connection, an identity and a common goal.
  3. THE COACH – An adult wanting them to be there, caring for them and willing to push them to their limits and beyond.
  4. THE FUTURE – Kids play sports because there is a dream of a future doing this professionally or at least doing well enough to help them to pay for college.
  5. THE HEALTH – Kids choose sports because it’s something that keeps them physically healthy. There is a sense of knowing that they are in shape physically, but also mentally & emotionally because of playing sports.
  6. THE FRIENDSHIPS/RELATIONSHIPS – Deep meaningful friendship and relationships are formed through sports.
  7. THE PARENTS – Kids choose sports over church because parents choose sports over church. Parents choose sports because they have something they can cheer for, be proud of, and even brag about.
  8. THE WIN – Everyone likes to be a winner. Everyone likes to win.
  9. THE MEMORIES – Kids choose sports over youth group because of the memories of the past seasons, teams, coaches and excitement.
  10. THE COMMITMENT – I hear students say it all the time, “I can’t come because I made a commitment to…”

We get frustrated by those statements and bemoan the lack of commitment to church, but have we ever taught or explained “committing your life to Christ” is more than a one-time, at the altar moment, but rather a “seek first His kingdom” lifestyle. All of these reasons this author pointed out are also things students and adults should be getting in church. Applause for spiritual growth. A “team,” or the body of Christ surrounding them. A pastor (coach) pushing them deeper and farther. The future, the promise of eternity with Christ. Their spiritual health. The friendships and relationships built through church. Their parents encouraging them, walking with them, and cheering them along in their faith. Their should be a measure for success in ministry. The memories built through events and trips with church. And a commitment to church, rather than church being what they do when there are no other commitments.

The biggest problem I see with all 10 of these reasons, is that none of them are bad in and of themselves. Similarly, most sins we find ourselves in, most “idols” in our lives, and most temptations we find ourselves falling to are not bad. However, the issue is when we take good things and we make them ultimate.

There is only one ultimate thing in this world and it is our one and only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We must place him as first and ultimate, and let everything else be second. We as a body of believers need to get to a place where we place what God wants and likes above what we do.

I love you guys, and so does Jesus. I hope you continue to long for this water, and continue to drink from it as well. Until next time, blessings to you and your family,

Josh Gentry

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