Good Idols

25 Nov

When most of us think about the idolatry of the ancient world mentioned in the Bible, we think of scary looking statues and strange rituals. In reality, though these things were present and real in the world of the Bible, the “gods” were being worshiped in most cases for the promises they could fulfill. Whether fertility or a good harvest or some other desire, the “gods” in the ancient world were the means to an end and the end was usually a good thing, not something scary and sinister.

Now the parallel to our day is clear. Most of our idols are not bad things. It’s just that we give our hearts to them and this moves us away from true worship and into false worship. What are some signs that we have become idolaters of the good gifts God has given us? When we are despondent without that thing we love, we are probably making an idol of that thing. When our joy is linked to our participation or involvement with that idol and it has become more than a simple pleasure, idolatry has us in its grip. When our time is consumed with our idol, so much so that we neglect Sunday worship and personal time with God, we are living in idolatry.

This is all so hard to see because the idol is a really good thing. We like the activity. It is fun. It is easy for us. But in the end it is deadly. Someone has said, “When a good thing becomes a god thing, that’s a bad thing.” This is so true.

Take some time this week to think about your good idols. Not the obvious wickedness of your heart but your subtle worship of good things rather than God.


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