Am I an Idolater?
What does Idolatry actually mean anyway?
The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines it as:
- the worship of a physical object as a god
immoderate attachment or devotion to something
The Oxford Dictionary defines it as:
Worship of idols
Extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone
So the definitions pretty much line up together. The Oxford definition of course seeming to be a little stricter with words. So summing it up, there are 2 definitions to the word. The first definition, “worship of idols” or “the worship of a physical object as a god” is the definition that most people refer to as what they understand idolatry to mean.
Most people believe that it’s the blatant and blasphemous ones that are the idolaters. They think that the ones that set up shrines or the ones that pray to statues are really practicing idolatry. It’s easy to point them out. A lot of people can’t understand why people worship other gods. These people that they see or hear about that have shrines or kneel to statues are the obvious idolaters that God is referring to in His Word. This is not an issue for them. They know who the real idolaters are. The nature of man in the world always justifies himself against how bad another person is.
But what about the second definition?
“immoderate attachment or devotion to something” or “Extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone”.
It seems that this definition gets overlooked.
The definition of an idolater is:
Someone who worships idols (physical object as a god)
Someone who has an immoderate or extreme attachment, admiration, devotion, reverence, or love for something OR someone.
From understanding this definition a problem begins to arise. We may begin to understand that there are a few things either ourselves or our friends & family currently may idolize. We may begin to look at the world differently and see that the world is built around idolatry. We should see what God says about idolaters and idolatry.
It is plain to see based from the scriptures about idolatry, that idolatry is a major issue. There are countless scriptures that tell us to stay away from idolatry. More scriptures that show what happened to the children of Israel when they began eating things sacrificed to idols. When they held on to idols and the things of the accursed, they began to lose battles and they were cursed. Only until they did away with the idols were the curses lifted. Other scriptures show that idolaters and the like will not inherit the kingdom of God.
There are major implications about idolatry, so it’s important to get it right. We already know what the obvious, blatant idolaters look like. It’s the 2nd definition we need to focus on. Remember that’s when they have an immoderate or extreme attachment, admiration, devotion, reverence, or love for something OR someone.
What does that look like? People like things of course, but it’s not like the average person is addicted in the extreme to anything or anyone. The next piece that we need to do with this definition is tie it into Our God, who told us in Exodus 20, that He is a jealous God. We are not to put any other god before Him.
Putting it all together, we can make the conclusion that anything that we put in priority over God in our lives can be an idol. By doing this we then could be classified as idolaters in God’s sight, right?
Really think about this pertaining to yourself, your kids, your family, and your friends. Are there things that you place in a higher priority than God? The answer may surprise you.
The way the world is today we have major things to keep us busy in life. Most of us have goals, coupling our goals with our families, jobs, entertainment, and our other issues, our lives can get pretty hectic & busy. So busy that we often don’t include God into it at all or worse we fit Him in the way we want Him to fit in our lives. We are so caught up with what we need to get done or accomplished, how much money we need to make, or just worrying about our kids that we don’t even realize that God wants control of all those things in the first place.
When we put ourselves or other things in charge of taking care of things in our life, we begin to make those things or ourselves gods. We do this because we are giving it superiority in our life. When you believe that it is you that is getting things done in your life or it’s you changing your attitude that’s going to change things in your life, you are in the belief that YOU are in control. That makes you a god and takes our God out. You begin to worship your abilities or the power of your mind, or the luck you have to get you the things good or bad in your life.
Idolatry is extremely deceptive and dangerous because we can be accepting other gods without the actualization of it. Because we don’t realize it, we never do anything about it until we’ve compounded it and have gotten to deep into it. From this we have unknowingly blocked out God’s voice and replaced it with the voice of this other god, whatever it is.
Understanding this point will change the way you view things and will bring you back to the point against worldly traditions and ideology. It will break you out of bondage you have attached to and assist you in growth.