What do you sacrifice for? What makes you mad? What do you worry about? Whose applause do you long for?
What comes to your mind when you hear the word idolatry? For most of us, we instantly think of other cultures where they have statues that they worship. We think of the golden calf story that was happening while God was giving his people the ten commandments.
But what if it isn't about statues? What if the gods that we worship, the idols that we serve, don't have strange names? What if their identities are so ordinary that we don't recognize them as gods at all?
A god is what we sacrifice for and what we pursue. The profound wisdom of the second commandment is that anything in the world can be hammered into an idol, and therefore a false god, if misplaced at the top of our affections. And the real challenge is that most of them are good things, gifts that God gave us.
Kyle Idleman says this, “One of our problems in identifying the gods is that their identities not only lack the usual trappings of religion; they are also things that aren’t even wrong. You could be serving something that is in itself, very commendable. It could be family or career. It could be a worthy cause. You could even be feeding the hungry and healing the sick. all of those are good things. The problem is the instant something takes the place of God, the moment it becomes an end in itself rather than something to lay at God’s throne, it becomes an idol.”
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
God has such an issue with idolatry because of the second half of that passage; the fact that He is a JEALOUS God. He loves you too much to share you. But He gives us a choice.
You choose between me and money.
You choose between me and your career.
You choose between me and that relationship.
You choose between me and the house.
"God hates everything that becomes an obstacle between you and him, everything that blocks your view of him or threatens to keep you from hearing his voice. He wants you, and not just some of you." -Idleman
Are you willing to make a change? Are you willing to dethrone some of the idols in your life?
The first step is to start with prayer. Prayer allows us to give God what is due and to acknowledge that everything in this life is a gift from him. It allows us to remember our part in the story and that our identity and joy can only come from Him.
To find out more check out Kyle Idleman's book, "God at War," as well as listen to the full sermon HERE!