What is Your Idol?
God is Against Idols of All Kinds
What is your idol? We live in a society that prides itself on the fact that it is enlightened. We wouldn't dream of creating an idol made of wood, stone or gold. And we say that those people in the time of the Bible who did these things were backward and uninformed. Well you might be surprised that Scripture actually agrees with this. Here is what Isaiah says about the subject:
"The man shapes iron into cutting tools and does his work over coals, fashioning it with hammers and working it with his strong arm. He also gets hungry and his strength fails; he drinks no water and becomes weary. Another shapes wood, he extends a measuring line; he outlines it with red chalk. He works it with planes and outlines it with a compass, and makes it like the form of a man, like the beauty of man, so that it may sit in a house. Surely he cuts cedars for himself, and takes cypress or an oak and raises it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself; he also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and worships it; he makes a graven image and falls down before it. Half of it burns in the fire; over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says "Aha!, I am warm, I have seen the fire." But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god." (Isaiah 44:12-17).
The Bible teaches clearly that there is only one true God, who is the maker and sustainer of the universe. All other gods are not real, and man is foolish to give them the time of day.
I. Modern Idols Abound
Most of the so-called modern thinkers who believe that they are superior to the people of the biblical world probably don't know that they are agreeing with the God of the Bible about idols. However, where these "enlightened" people get to be as bad as those of the ancient world is when they take away the gods of wood, stone, brass and gold and replace them with the idols of today. These include the idols of sex, power, money, success and possessions of all kinds. Science, for some is an idol. They think that God is not needed and that Science can solve all their problems. An idol today could even be a job, if indeed it is put above all else, including God.
An idol is anything that we ascribe supreme worth and value to, and put above the one true God. It doesn't necessarily involve physically bowing down to something but an elevation of anything above the Lord. Paul agrees with this in Colossians 3:5. He tells us:
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body, as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry."
The word translated "greed" or "covetousness" literally means "to have more" It is an insatiable desire to gain more. This especially includes things that are forbidden, but isn't limited to them. Any time people engage in either greed, or the sexual sins that Paul refers to in this verse, they are essentially following their own desires rather than the desires of God. In essence they are worshipping self and are committing idolatry. And today this form of idolatry is everywhere.
II. Idolatry is the Natural Result of Abandoning God
Mankind was created by and for God (Colossians 1:16). We were made for His glory and to worship Him. Abandoning the one true God leaves a void and it is filled by giving our worship to something else. The book of Romans tells us that all mankind knew God, but refused to glorify Him as God. Paul says:
"For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and fourfooted animals and crawling creatures" (Romans 1:21-23).
As we stated, though we in our modern society may no longer worship the type of idols talked about in this passage, we haven't given them up. Idols are the result of man's abandoning the God of the universe. And whether they admit it or not, even those who choose not to believe in God, have substituted Him for something else.
So what, or who is at the center of your life? The Bible teaches us that if the answer isn't God, then you are worshipping an idol. For those who haven't yet accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, that is the first step to getting your priorities straight. For us who have accepted Jesus Christ, we have to remember that He must be recognized as the Lord of our lives. The Bible tells us that: "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father" (Colossians 3:17).
May we stop giving glory to another, and start giving it to the one who truly deserves it. Let us remove forever the idols from our life and never put them in the Lord's place again.
© 2012 Jeff Shirley