Worship Idols

21 Apr

Our church is reading Counterfeit Gods, by Timothy Keller.  His writing is very easy to read, and the stories he uses are engaging.  His razor-sharp logic, however, is a deftly-shot arrow that found its mark deep in my heart.

The definition of an idol, according to Keller is: “anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.”

Every specialized group of people has its own particular list of insidious idols.  For those of us who lead others in worshiping God, what are ours?  That last phrase in the quote above is especially troubling to me.  Immediately, I think of my identity – only God can be the true source of my identity– not my ability to sing, not my position on the worship team, not what the pastor thinks of me, not the latest song I wrote, not how clever or creative I am.  Only God.

“An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel as if my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.’  There are many ways to describe that kind of relationship to something, but perhaps the best one is worship.”

May it never be!

How can the very thing God has called me to do be an idol?  After thinking about it from another angle, I see that this makes perfect sense.  The one who is gifted in business is blinded to her fixation with the bottom line or her workaholism.  The one who went into politics to serve people denies he is now caught up in having power over them.  The plank is always in another’s eye, not mine.  Especially since leading worship is a holy calling and above more worldly pursuits.

But we are no different.  Our holy calling can also become our idol.  And maybe worshiping worship is the most heinous idol.  After all, our calling is to worship God.  We should know better.

To whom much is given (the ability and privilege of leading others in worshiping God); much is demanded (the responsibility of knowing Who we worship and what we should not worship).

“We think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case.  The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes.  Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life.”

Throughout the book Keller emphasizes that the only way to get rid of an idol is by calling it sin and replacing it with a deep love for Christ.

God made us to be worshipers.  We cannot not worship – but we get to choose what we worship.

————

Heart check for Sunday–

What are my idols?

Name them.  Confess them.

Memorize a verse that reminds me to dethrone the golden calf and bow before the one who holds my life in His hands.

Tomorrow, and always, I choose to worship you, Lord.

Quotes from Counterfeit Gods are from the Introduction, pp. xix-xx

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