“40 Things…” Day 31 — Idolizing

“You shall have no other gods before me.” — Exodus 20:3

When the show “American Idol” came out, I always thought that it was an interesting name. If you’ve ever watched it, and ever studied “idolatry”, the producers got it right!

Idolatry is all about worship

AND….

When you look up the definition of “idolize” you get: “to worship as a god” OR to “love and admire to excess”. In other words, when we idolize something, or someone…it’s misplaced loved….AND there is a connection between “love” and “worship”.

NOW, I wonder if we think of idolatry only in terms of “rock stars”, “movie stars”, and carved imagery? When you study “idolatry” in the bible, you find there are almost 1000 references to it! So, it’s a big deal. But it’s almost always in the sense of a carved statue that one would worship or venerate or pray to for help or salvation. It seems like fallen man is always trying to make the divine…tangible. Almost like there’s something built into us that needs to worship…humm…..

Well, the divine DOES become tangible! The big theological word for that is “the incarnation”! God becomes man…to take our place on the cross and reconcile us back to God. To restore communion between Creator and created. In that sense, Jesus removes the need for any kind of intermediary. The veil in the Temple that was torn was a symbol to all that through Jesus, there was now no more need for go-betweens. We all have access to the Holy of Holies, through faith in Christ Jesus! Hallelujah! (Resurrection Sunday is coming folks….hope you’re getting excited!!!). And THAT changes things!

But I thought this was a post about idolatry! Well, it is! You see, Idolatry is all about US….worshipping, loving, looking to something or someone for identity, provision, peace, hope, salvation, joy, stuff…whatever. And because idolatry is looking for all those things in a place other than the One True God, then we should realize we’re all vunerable. Jesus came to give us access to the One True God…so in that sense Jesus is the solution to idolatry.

But let’s think of idolatry in it’s fullness.

What am I looking to, to find: love, hope, peace, joy, identity, purpose, direction, success, _____________?

If it’s anything other than our Heavenly Father, we might just be close to idolatry. I guess here’s the point I’m trying to make:

We have in us….a propensity for worship and love. I believe God placed that within us. But sin has corrupted it. This is “why” God said…”you shall have no other God’s before me”. In other words, HE is our exclusive God. HE is our “First-love”. HE is the source of all life (in all it’s forms…see the list above). HE is the place we go, to experience all that we need, are or ever will be!

And maybe worship is when God is THAT in our life! Maybe it’s not music, or liturgy or “Rites” or anything “we’ve made it” (because trust me, there’s a lot of idolatry floating around in people’s attitudes towards worship). Maybe it’s that moment you realize He IS!

And all that is within you wants to be close to Him….to surrender everything to Him….to sing to Him (regardless if you think you can…PS: THAT attitude has to do with idolatry too! We’ve set up these false standards on what is acceptable to God. You believe it and think that because you wouldn’t get Adam or Christina or Blake or that other guy to turn their chair…then your song of love isn’t acceptable to God…YOUR Father who made your voice and loves you more than you ever will know….We think that unless we’re “good”, then God won’t accept us. See how idolatry affects us even if we’re not watching the show???). Bow down literally…and worship. Raise your hands and lose yourself in focus in love…in attention…on Him.

So how do we give it up?

Well, perhaps one way we might get at this, is through worship! Today, why not spend some time alone with God…just the two of you. Find a quiet place. Eat lunch in your car. Go to a park. Get away and simply worship HIM.

I don’t know how” you’re saying to yourself…..

Then tell HIM! Ask HIM to help you worship in “spirit and truth”! Take out the Psalms…and read them aloud. Speak out loud…your prayers. Tell God how much you love Him….want Him….need Him….appreciate Him…are thankful for Him! Turn on your favorite worship song…and sing along….croak along….sing out of key along….but make a joyful NOISE! He gave you this day. Why not worship HIM in thanks!

And this is what will begin to happen….

In the beautiful hymn: “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”, there is this line…

“…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace”

THAT’S what we need in order to give up all our idolatry…..the light of Jesus shining on every area of our life….illuminating our situation in light of God’s reality.

I hope this helps today!

Tomorrow…Day 32 — Resistance To Change

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