Tag Archives: idol

Exclusivity

1 Jun

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”  Matthew 4:10

The entire Bible is a call to worship God exclusively and turn away from idolatry.

(I can’t remember where I read or heard that, so fill me in if you know the source.)

An over-simplification?   The more I think about this idea and read the Word with it in mind, the more I think it’s true.

Consider:

  • God commands us to worship Him.  He is the only One worthy of worship; and He knows that it is also best for us, because other gods cannot satisfy the desires He put into us.
  • If we worship God alone, we don’t serve other, lesser masters.
  • Lesser masters are not perfect (only God is perfect), therefore lesser masters contain an element of corruption.  They are not worthy of worship, and when we do worship them, we take on their corrupted nature.
  • I have been corrupted by sin, so focusing on myself (self-worship) is also a bad idea.  It can lead to all sorts of selfishness, manipulation, and hedonism.
  • Satan is the one who wants to draw my attention away from God.  (See Matt 4:10, above.)
  • God is love, peace, faithfulness, etc., and we (individually and collectively) find these intangibles when we worship Him, not lesser gods.
  • Worship isn’t necessarily bowing before a statue; worship is giving my attention and devotion to someone or something, expecting to receive from him or it what only God can give.

I could go on.  These are only a few ideas off the top of my head.

I know they are all undeveloped arguments laden with presuppositions.  The point is, no matter what angle I take, I keep coming back to my original statement: The entire Bible is a call to worship God exclusively and turn away from idolatry.

———————–

Ready for Sunday

What does this mean for us as we lead others in worshiping God?

I think of the incredible responsibility we have to make sure everything we do, say, sing, play, etc., glorifies God, and only God– not my musicianship, not the soloist, not the drama team, not our beautiful building.  All of these can be used to bring Him glory, but none should receive glory in themselves.  Everything must glorify Him alone.

I know that we worship all week long, not just when we are singing on a Sunday morning.  But our corporate worship time can help set the direction for the rest of my week, propelling my heart toward God.   While we are together, brothers and sisters united in Christ worshiping the Father, my heart is encouraged and re-directed to worship God alone.

I am humbled by the responsibility this places on me as a worship leader.  I am sickened by my sin of idolatry as other things distract me from His call.  I am resolute, with His matchless power at work within me, to worship God only and to lead others to do the same.

Soli Deo gloria!

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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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