Modern day Idolatry

Idolatry is worshipping other things besides the one true God. Consistently throughout the Bible it is made very clear that idolatry is unacceptable.

In the times of the Bible, most people worshipped gods and goddesses made of stone, wood or sometimes precious metals. God condemns the worship of such objects. No matter what the idol is made of, it is still a lifeless object with no power or character. It definitely has no power to save us from our sins! Idolatry is not only foolish but is a major sin in the eyes of God.

Idolatry reduces God to a deity that can be manipulated

The worship of idols by people suggests they think they can get their own way by effectively side-stepping God and worshipping other “gods”.

So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes”. Genesis Ch.35:2

Why did people have these idols (“foreign gods”)? In the time of Jacob, idols were sometimes seen as a good-luck charm. Some Israelites had idols in their homes, even though they worshipped God. Jacob believed that idols should have no place in his household. He wanted nothing to divert his family’s spiritual focus.

Idolatry worships the creature rather than the creator

How can intelligent people turn to idolatry? Idolatry begins when people reject what they know about God.

Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Romans 1:22-23

Instead of looking to God as the creator and sustainer of life, idol worshippers see themselves as the centre of the universe. They soon invent “gods” that are convenient projections of their own plans and decrees. These gods may be wooden figures, but they may also be goals or things we pursue such as money, power or comfort. Whatever it is, the main point is that idolaters worship the things God made rather than God himself.

Questions to ask your self:

  • Is there anything you feel you can’t live without?
  • Is there any priority greater than God?
  • Do you have a dream you would sacrifice everything to realise?
  • Does God take first place?
  • Do you worship God or idols of your own making?
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Modern day idolatry

In the 21st century, idolatry still exists – except perhaps in some cases it is not as obvious – it is more subtle. We can group modern day idolatry into three broad groups:

1.Pagan religions of the modern age

There are some modern day religions with tens of millions of worshippers which base their religion around idol worship – they worship god’s made out of wood and stone.

You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, Exodus Ch.20:5
A boat can be a idol

2. Idols are anything that will take away our devotion to God.

If you spend a lot of time following the life of a movie star or rock star then maybe that is your idol. Another example could be spending a lot of time devoted to using and maintaining a recreational boat. This could make that boat your idol – it is taking your time away from worshipping God.

3. Greed is idolatry

Greed is the wanting more of something. In this modern age of seeing advertising everywhere, greed is something which is likely to continue growing. Advertisers use such phrases as “you deserve it” or “you need it”. However, greed is like a cancer which eats into us – the more we get, the more we want – we are never satisfied!

The hunger for bigger, better and more possessions may not seem that bad to you. But it slowly creeps up on us and takes over our thoughts and actions. Forty years ago people were satisfied with the small black and white televisions, then in the 1970s and 1980s everyone had to have the larger colour television and now it is essential to have the 60 inch OLED television in your lounge room!!

Yet greed is idolatry according to the Bible.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. Colossians Ch.3:5-6
Putting God first

So in the future, if we want to avoid idolatry, what do we need to do?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians Ch.4:8-9

We need to put God first.

Treasures on earth will be destroyed by rust; instead seek treasures in heaven
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt.6:33
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:37-39
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2