“You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:2)
When was the last time someone called you an idol worshiper? I cannot recall a time in my life when I was confronted with this accusation and I bet you cannot either. It’s something that isn’t talked about a lot today but most Christians are aware that they may do it.
How do we know if we are an idol worshiper? Let’s look in the book of Psalms at a passage that will help us to understand.
Psalm 135:15 says, “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands.” Idols were made by people and given a status equal or greater than the Lord. This was prevalent in biblical times because people could fashion a small statue and give it intrinsic value as long as people believed in it.
We have become a society of man-made things. They are all around us. Manufacturing is part of the greatness of America’s history and present story. Does this mean that everything that is made is an idol?
For something to be labeled an idol it must be attributed god-like powers and authority in a person’s life. It replaces God for someone or something because they can touch and feel it. The results are a feeling of a temporary peace and satisfaction from the object.
Psalm 135:16-18 says, “They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths.” Many idols in biblical times had human or animal-like features. The psalmist here is describing their outward appearance but without the evidence of true life. They could not see, hear nor see or feel the breath coming from their mouths. There was no life in these objects, thus no value that could help anyone.
Psalm 135:18 says, “Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” What is the Psalmist saying here? The idol makers will be like the objects they make – seemingly having evidence of life but having no life at all. They may walk and talk like a real person but the true life found inside of a human being will not be there. The same is true with anyone who trusts in the object – only the appearance of life is present but death is their reality.
How does this apply to us today? What are we trusting in that seems to have life and brings us pleasure, comfort, peace, and joy but, in reality, is all an allusion? There is no life in it.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) This is either true or it is not. Either Jesus is the only way to God or He is not. Either Jesus is the only place where true life is found or He is not.
When we place objects above Him and attempt to find life in them, we become idol worshipers striving for something that is not there. In the end, we will be greatly disappointed. However, the Father and the Son are very gracious. He says to us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Identify the idols in your life, acknowledge them to God, and turn from them back to the One who loves you and gives you true life!