Worship is a beautiful thing – but what happens when we worship the wrong thing? We are all guilty of this, of worshipping something other than our God. That something is called an idol.
One of my favorite songs is called ‘Clear the Stage’, by Jimmy Needham. There is one set of lyrics that captures the intentions of this article so perfectly:
“We must not worship something that’s not even worth it.
Clear the stage, make some space for the one who deserves it.
Anything I put before my God is an idol.
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol.
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol.
Anything that I give all my love is an idol.”
When you put sports before your God, it’s an idol.
When you want a boyfriend/girlfriend with all your heart, that’s an idol.
When you can’t stop thinking about that amazing TV show you’re currently binge-watching on Netflix, it becomes an idol.
When you give all your love to a video game or shopping or even someone you love, that thing/person becomes an idol.
When you take anything or anyone and put it/them before your God, that creates an idol. And when you worship that idol more than your Savior, your worship turns from beauty into dust. Your worship becomes the thorn on the rose, instead of the rose itself.
So how do we protect our worship from idolatry?
Firstly, realize that you are human, and that you will never be able to fully protect your worship from idolatry. It will happen. Your idols will win over God, in your heart. You will, at times, grow apathetic in your faith, and you will enjoy your hobbies more than reading scripture. I can guarantee this.
But here’s the cool thing: God will remain faithful to you. God will still forgive you. God will still meet you where you are, even if where you are is surrounded by idols.
So, persevere. No matter the struggle, always go back to Christ. Always pursue Christ-likeness. Always strive to obey God.
There are 3 key ways to do this:
Read and Memorize Scripture
As my pastor would say, rehearse the gospel. Rehearse His victory on the cross. Rehearse Who Christ is. Dive into His Word, and commit it to heart. When the idols creep into your heart, defend it with scripture.
Talk to your Savior. Plead your case to Him. Worship Him with spoken word. Be vulnerable with the One who already knows and loves every part of you.
Fellowship with Others
Surround yourself with fellow believers. Worship and fellowship with them, and keep each other accountable to Christ.
Using your journal, write down idols that reign in your heart – then, list reasons why Christ should instead. Rehearse on paper why God is worth everything you are and all of your worship. You can overcome your idols, because you belong to the God that reigns over them.