Monday, May 12, 2008

Christian Idolatry

The sin that most often provokes God's wrath in the Bible is idolatry, which is the worship of anything other than the one true God.
Those of us raised in the church tend to think of idolatry in terms of other religions or cults or ancient pagan worship like that of the Canaanite "god" Dagon (pictured to the left) but theologian Paul Tillich was right when he wrote that whatever concerns you most is your "god."
One may attend church faithfully, read scripture regularly and pray daily while still practicing idolatry. I meet too many Christians who are grossly overweight because they worship food or who yell at little league games because they worship their children or are addicted to pornography because they worship sex and on and on and on.
I felt this sting during seminary when Professor John Willis told us that one of the best things we could do as ministers was to go through our own home at least once a year, identify the object most valuable to us and get rid of it.
I used to collect bass guitars (Gene Simmons, Nikki Sixx and Duff McKagen were my heroes) but sold my collection (3 classic Kramers, A Nikki Sixx signature pains me to go on) and, until recently, had a massive CD collection (literally thousands--mainly hard rock and metal...hey watch the self-righteousness, I grew up in the '80's and lived in Hollywood during the waning days of hair metal, so sue me...) and am in the process of selling all of those. I loved those guitars and CD's but had simply grown too proud of them and attached to them, so they had to go.
Its not that having material possessions in and of itself is wrong (God didn't seem to have a problem with David's wealth) and I'm not trying to make myself out to be a shining example because I struggle with as many sins if not more than anyone reading this but Dr. Willis is right. If we really believe we worship the one true God and we believe the witness of Scripture that nothing is to compete with Him in our hearts then do yourself a favor and take the painful walk through your home to identify the material possession that must go so that you can follow King Jesus wherever He points you.