By Heidi Vegh
“They traded the truth about God for a lie. So, they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise. Amen!” - Romans 1:25
I often find myself in places of discontentment, heavily bombarded with opportunities to compare myself to others and allow the monster of idolatry to sit on the throne of my life. I wish I could be like her, look like her, have a business like her, or even have children like hers. I measure my accomplishments up against unrealistic expectations that the world has placed on me and place the importance of them before God, essentially worshiping the hustle to get where I want to be and much more. This, my friends, is a sin.
The sin of idolatry is nothing new. In Ecclesiastes, we read, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” We fight the sin of idolatry just as the people did in ancient Israel. It may look a bit different or be packaged differently, but the sin of idolatry is alive and well.
When the Israelites became discouraged as they wandered in the desert, they allowed themselves to be distracted by their world and forgot about God and how he had freed them from slavery. They erected a lifeless, golden calf made from the riches they had taken with them from Egypt.
“The idols of the nations are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. They have mouths but cannot speak and eyes but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear and mouths but cannot breathe.” - Psalm 135:15-17
They worshipped the golden idol and made sacrifices to it. This was empty and worthless. However, they believed that this idol would help them or save them. They were aiming their worship at the wrong thing, taking matters into their own hands.
“They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it…” Exodus 32:8
This may sound ridiculous to some; however, we do the same thing. In our current world, it is so easy to set things before God and forget His faithfulness in our lives. We become overwhelmed by our own needs, desires, and abilities that we are tricked into believing that we are completely self-sufficient. Even the most devout Jesus followers tend to fall into this trap of idolatry.
We have a jealous God, meaning that He is vigilant and fiercely protective of us. He wants our affections to be aimed at Him and not the world. Not just for His sake but also ours. He knows that the idols of this world will never satisfy. Only God can truly satisfy.
God will not tolerate idolatry and longs to set us free from this sin. When he created mankind, he created us with a heart that desired worship, and it was intended that we worship Him and Him alone. He wanted to be close to His people and have deep loving relationships with Him. When we are focusing on things other than God to fulfill us, we are tempted to believe that we need something more and that God is not enough.
Humans longed to be affirmed, and it is so easy to look to other humans to obtain this and not to God. But this is empty and worthless. Humans are flawed, and God is perfect. God's approval is rooted in who Jesus is and what He did, not by what we accomplish or how we perform.
We tend to idolize our jobs, our families, our marriages, our social media presence, or our wealth. We think that if we have the next best thing, the approval, or the riches, then finally, we will be happy. We strive to make our own happiness and to take control when we should be surrendering.
But even after all this, God is still the same. He is still the same loving and jealous God that He was in the days of Exodus. He longs for us to reach for Him, worship Him, and love only Him. Remember, only God can truly satisfy. We could search to the ends of the earth to find something to fulfill us like God and we will always come up short.
Intersecting Life and Faith:
Reflect on your priorities. Are there things in your life that you worshipping other than God? How can you shift your life to put God first? It may be taking a break from social media, hiding your credit card, or simply shifting your time to be spent with the Lord first during your day. Spend some time with the Lord asking Him to show you where you have idols in your life and ask for forgiveness. Ask the Lord to show you how to remove the idols and to give you the strength to do so. Relish in the freedom and fulfillment of the Lord when you surrender your idols and put God first in your life.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Tuned_In
Heidi Vegh is a writer, speaker, and ministry leader living in Gig Harbor, WA. She is a remarried mother of four, navigating the blended family life after the loss of her first husband to cancer in 2013. She longs to use her writing as a way to encourage others who have experienced loss and guide them on the road to healing. She contributes to her blog found at www.mrsheidivegh.com , sharing stories and devotionals of faith stemming from her loss and healing, mothering, and her blended and complex family. She graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a degree in Creative Writing and English and is working on her first book. Heidi is the Women’s Ministry Director at Gig Harbor Foursquare and has a deep heart for sharing Jesus with women and encouraging them in their faith walk. When she is not writing she loves to travel, read, craft, and experiment in the kitchen. Visit her Facebook and Instagram (@mrsheidivegh) to learn more.