Not that kind of idol
When we hear the term "idol" it is easy for us to imagine pagan shrines and primitive superstitions. Or perhaps we think of obvious American obsessions like money, sex and fame. But the biblical concept of idolatry is not so limited. This last week's message by pastor Mike Summers (Countryside) confronted us with the challenge of real spiritual change. Change that involves more than mere surface adjustments and external conformity. The change God desires is change of the heart. But the human heart, as Calvin once quipped, is in fact an idol factory.
Discovering our idols
Near the end of this sermon we were given ten diagnostic questions to ask ourselves. Questions that expose idols of the heart. Lest we be hearers only and not doers of the word, we want to provide these questions in written form so you can prayerfully consider them this week:
- What do I love the most?
- What do I want more than anything else?
- What am I seeking after?
- Where do I find refuge and peace?
- Who do I feel that I must please? Whose opinion matters most?
- What can't I live without?
- What makes me feel fulfilled?
- What do I think about most often?
- What do I talk about most?
- How do I spend my time? When I am free to do what I want to do, what do I do and why do I do it?
The answer to these questions reveals our functional god. If there is someone or something that we love, want, seek, run to, fear, need, or value more than God, then we are guilty of the sin of idolatry. When idolatry exists in our hearts, it bears all kinds of sinful fruit. So in order to deal with the many symptoms, we must address the root issue. Sin is always, ultimately, a worship problem.
The solution to idolatry
Ezekiel 14 shows the danger of spiritual apostasy and prescribes the only solution. "Thus says the Lord GOD: Repent and turn away from your idols" (Ezekiel 14:6). The good news is that Jesus died for idolaters. God forgives the sin of false worship. He sets us free from our spiritual slavery and calls us to freedom. When we repent of our sin and lay hold of Jesus Christ by faith, we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, love Him with all our heart, soul mind and strength, and "set our minds on things above, where Christ is" (Col. 3:1-3).