The Ten Commandments start like this…
“And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20)
This commandment, to many modern hearers, sounds fairly easy to follow. Fewer and fewer people in the modern world ever bow down to an inanimate object they made and call it a god. Yet this commandment, like it was for the nation of Israel, is harder to obey than most of us realize, or at least, want to admit.
Jesus tells his followers this 1000s of years after the giving of the 10 Commandments.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matt. 6:24)
The problem with idols is that we don’t see them as idols. We actually see them as good things in our lives. An idol is anyone or anything we put before God.
Our thinking about idols is usually not wrong. It is simply incomplete. We believe we can choose to not give certain passions, desires, or hopes entirely to God and them not become idols. That is how money becomes evil and robs us of our ability to serve God. Money is no god, until you keep it to and for yourself.
An idol can be anything. Money is the most typical one. It can be your spouse or your family. It can be your job or your career. It can be a hobby. Your child’s sports endeavors. A sin pattern. Alcohol. Drugs. The list goes on and on and on.
Anything kept for or to ourselves is, inherently, before God. Thus, it is an idol.
I have one. I have come face to face with it this year in a way I have never experienced before. It is a sneaky little master, this idol. I almost took this Sunday off because of the topic we are addressing in our Burned series. Why? It is the idol I have come face to face with this year.
Idols are sneaky little masters because we think they serve us while all along we are unintentionally serving them.
Consider this as you prepare for Sunday.
How does doing a good thing become a wrong thing?