“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Romans 1:21-23
When reading a passage like this, we often skip the warning. We imagine an ancient culture making golden statues and foolishly worshipping them. We feel safe knowing that because of our superior thinking, and because we live in such modern times, that we are safe from such obvious sin. However, with a little more introspection we realize that the enemy is more cunning than ever, and that Idolatry is not only present in our time but thriving.
We must be more vigilant to see the Idols around us and be prepared to fight the modern idolatry that is constantly vying for God’s place within our hearts. I challenge you to take the time today and ask yourself these four simple questions; Where do I spend my time? Where do I spend my money? Where do I get my Joy? What is always on my mind?
Several times in my life I have asked myself these questions and have not been entirely pleased with the answers. The opportunity for something less than God to take God’s place seems to lurk around every corner. Our phones, our money, a political party, our identity, sex, entertainment, and comfort, can all quickly take a place in our hearts or minds that should belong to God. Many of these things are not bad by themselves, just like a statue of a false God holds no power, but when we start to give what belongs to God away to a meaningless entity, we are participating in Idolatry.
For instance, if we place our trust in man made things like political parties, and we start to think that our safety, and our future, and our joy hinge on decisions that failing mortal men make, then those political parties are in danger of becoming idols. If we find ourselves increasingly relying on, and gaining joy from things that will perish with this world like our 401K and a healthy bank account, then we are in danger of Idolizing these lesser things.
Many times, we fall in this way because we believe in our own wisdom. The Bible tells us in Romans that as men claimed to be wise, they became fools, and started exchanging the immortal God for things of men. Idolatry, like many sins, can creep in while we are distracted by things of this world, and looking to other men for answers. We must stay rooted in the word of God to gain our wisdom, and never stop searching ourselves to find things trying to take God’s rightful place.