Youth News - June 2009
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Idols... It seems silly to us that anyone one earth would throw aside common sense to worship something that is made of wood, or stone, or paper - especially if the person created it himself! Isaiah expresses this thought when he writes about a person who creates and worships idols:

"He cuts down cedars for himself, and takes the cypress and the oak... He burns half of it in the fire; with this half he eats meat; he roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He even warms himself and says, 'Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire.' And the rest of it he makes into a god, his carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, prays to it and says, 'Deliver me, for you are my god!' They do not know nor understand... (Isaiah 44.14a; 16-18a)"

And yet what seems to us such a strange and foreign concept when we see it in others could be a temptation that could get us off track in our faith journey if we can't spot it in our society and in our lives here and now. It's easy to think of idols merely as statues that people use in false worship practices; but idolatry, more broadly defined, is anyone or anything that we value or trust more than (or equal to) God. God's desire to be our number one desire is expressed in both the Old Testament ["You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20.3)."] and the New [" shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark 12.30)."]

This recently has been a topic of discussion at one of our youth group gatherings, and I came across five questions that can help us in our understanding of the temptation to worship idols in our own lives. If your answer to any of the following questions is anyone or anything other than God, then you need to consider who or what you are actually worshipping.

  • - Who created me?
  • - Whom do I ultimately trust?
  • - To whom do I look for ultimate truth?
  • - To whom do I look for security and happiness?
  • - Who is in charge of my future?

The reality is, anything can become an idol to us if we attach a wrong sense of security, trust, or value to it. Our culture, with its materialism, its shifting ideas of what is true and good, and its unhealthy trust in money (among other things) is in need of a Church that remains secure in the love of our God that far surpasses the worthless gods of this age. Paul says that no "covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God (Ephesians 5.5)." This is a strong warning, but stronger yet is the love of God that gives us the strength in Christ to turn from worthless idols to the living God.

May Christ be first in your heart today, and if you find anyone or anything else on the throne in your heart, may you find the strength through His Spirit to turn from that idolatry to surrender to the God whose love alone can satisfy.

Grace & Peace, Matt

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