- God is still very much a jealous God, and He wants to be first in a believer’s life (Mark 12:30). Since we don’t live in an age or culture where we worship graven images and wood carvings of gods, then what does contemporary idolatry look like?
As I study different books in the Old Testament, I realize that God detested it when the children of Israel worshipped other gods (Deuteronomy 6:14-15). Likewise, the same holds true for Christians today—God is still very much a jealous God, and He wants to be first in a believer’s life (Mark 12:30). Since we don’t live in an age or culture where we worship graven images and wood carvings of gods, then what does contemporary idolatry look like?
When I ask believers about what idolatry looks like for them today, their response is typically idolizing the likes or followers they receive from social media, or idolizing their spouse or significant other, careers, children, money, and power. For some regular churchgoers, this also can translate to an idolization of their pastors, church leaders, or favorite worship leaders. These things and people may very well be idols, but have you ever given thought to making an idol out of the Triune God Himself?
Christians may love the Triune God, but do they worship Him according to the whole reality of who He is— or who they want Him to be? I know I suffer from this. I beg God for my ideal of a perfect relationship based on my own preferences, or I beg Him to turn around for my good what I would qualify as a bad situation. Anything that I believe will bring me satisfaction, I think I’m doing a great job as a Christian by continually submitting these things to God and believing that He will supply my petitions. But maybe what I want isn’t what God wants for me.
And my fleshly petitions and surface worship won’t get me far with God. Scripture tells us that God is holy, and in His holiness He is good, forgiving, gracious, loving, merciful, and so many more ‘favored’ characteristics of God as we would qualify them. However, God’s holiness also encompasses justice, wrath, His discipline of Christians, and other things that believers may not find favorable (Hebrews 12:7-11). And most importantly, in God’s holiness, He desires to transform believers into the likeness of His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). Hence if we don’t spend time understanding the entire truth of who God really is, then we’ll give Him a new face or create an idol out of Him. We’ll believe the lie of His identity being linked to “a God who only provides what we want, when we want Him to provide for us.”
How can a believer get around this different face of idolatry? Well the Psalmist in chapter 139 demonstrates to us that we can ask God to search our hearts and expose things in us that may offend Him. Thus my prayer for you today is that you ask the Lord to search your heart for anything that may not reflect Him. If the Spirit of God shows you something you should correct or turn from, then do it. Embrace what He brings to surface. I pray that you worship God in spirit and in the whole truth–and nothing but the truth of who He really is (John 4:24).