There is no such thing as a human being who does not worship. We all believe in something so much or want something so strongly that we will sacrifice just about anything in order to get it or keep it. This is our god. These are our gods. They may not be golden calves causing us to bow down before them as in days of old. Still, we bow our hearts. We compromise and sacrifice for that which we hold most dear—for those we hold most dear.
Tim Keller, the pastor who started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan in 1989 which today has sprouted several other churches, is a widely respected theologian and author. His book, Counterfeit Gods, is a must-read for all of us who have yet to identify the idols of our own hearts—the good things that we want more than God. Here’s an excerpt:
What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give. A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought. It can be family and children, or career and making money, or achievement and critical acclaim, or saving “face” and social standing. It can be a romantic relationship, peer approval, competence and skill, secure and comfortable circumstances, your beauty or your brains, a great political or social cause, your morality and virtue, or even success in the Christian ministry. When your meaning in life is to fix someone else’s life, we may call it “co-dependency” but it is really idolatry. An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.” There are many ways to describe that kind of relationships to something, but perhaps the best one is worship. (Counterfeit Gods, Introduction x-xx)
What do I worship, really? What do you worship, really? Ought we consider such a serious question and if we find something or someone taking God’s place in our heart, ought we not return to the only one worthy of worship–the only one able to fulfill each soul’s deepest longing?
“You shall have no other gods before me” Exodus 20:3
Jesus said, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Matthew 4:10
“You shall not make yourself an idol.” Exodus 20:4
Jesus said, “No servant can serve two masters.” Luke 16:13
Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 96:9