Often when I read the Old Testament and come across people worshiping idols I think, “I’m sure glad we don’t struggle with that today.” It’s easy to read what people struggled with thousands of years ago and think we’ve gotten smarter. But have we? Or have we just packaged our idols differently?
I believe idolatry is still alive and well today. Ultimately any time we violate God’s law, in other words sin, we commit idolatry. We are putting something else before God. Scripturally idols serve as anything that is anti-Christian. In that regard things that are good can become idols when we make them ultimate, or ruling, objects in our lives. By that definition idolatry is still alive and active today.
Here’s 5 idols that we have today.
Too many have their identity wound up in how their social media presence looks. We spend more time striving to get more “likes” on the perfect selfie than we do on trying to live out the Gospel message. In our near narcissistic society it’s all about us. When it’s all about us where can God fit in? The answer is in the left over section or not at all. Anything we put before God is an idol.
The main problem with this is the Bible actually tells us a different story. The Bible tells us we are weak, hopeless, and lost. Yet despite that we are loved. Why don’t we see those kind of posts on our Facebook feed?
When we care more about what people think about us, whether in person or online, that becomes an idol in our lives.
Just google “money” and you will find article after article on how to make more money. Now money itself isn’t bad. But in our culture money has quickly taken the place of God. Many Americans trust their money more than they trust God.
I’ve wrote on my struggle with this idol before: Money and God (An Honest Look at the Struggle)
Money certainly isn’t a bad thing, nor is it a good thing. Money is simply a tool and is good/bad depending on how we view it and use it. But in our society money is often God. We trust it to care for us. We put our hopes and dreams in it. And when we don’t have it we do anything to get it.
Money has become an ultimate thing in our lives. We make many life decisions based around finances and not God. That’s an idol.
This might seem a little strange, but bare with me. In our culture there is a growing trend that says experience > things. In other words, spend your time and money experiencing life (i.e. vacations, trips, night outs, concerts, etc). While those things aren’t bad, I would argue they are mostly good; they have become the focal point of many lives. Our lives have become the search of entertainment and chase of the best experiences life has to offer.
If we are pursuing the experiences in this life above God then it has become an idol. How can we tell? What’s on your mind most of the day? What’s the first thing you think about in the morning and the last when you fall asleep? Entertainment is good and often a gift from God, but let’s worship the giver not the gift.
Sex is everywhere in our culture. It’s used to sell just about everything. It’s on TV, billboards, the internet, and conversations at work. We are obsessed. According to the Bible, sex is a good thing. But it’s not an ultimate thing.
We have taken a gift from God and made it god in our lives. We have taken a good thing and made it an ultimate thing. We are worshiping the gift and not the giver of the gift. That’s idolatry.
There is an endless list of products promising to simplify and add comfort to your life. We have made our lives much easier and much more comfortable than any other time in history. Tasks that used to take all day can be done in minutes. Many menial tasks are now automated. While that’s a good thing, our pursuit in life should not be comfort alone.
Jesus tells a very different narrative for his followers. He seems to say that his followers will face trials, persecution, and difficulty. While comfort isn’t bad, but if that’s our main pursuit in life then we will struggle when God calls us to something difficult.
The bottom line of this article to say don’t worship the gifts. Don’t let the good things in your life set the course and direction for your life. Thank God for the good things you have, use them, enjoy them, but don’t put them before God. If you sense that something in your life has taken the place of God take it down, put it aside for a time. Put God back where he belongs.
We still have idols today. They don’t look like they did years ago, but they are still around. They are harder to spot and socially acceptable. But they are just as dangerous. If we aren’t careful they can destroy our relationship with God.