There have always been idolaters who want to raise up someone else in society to a god-like level. And there have always been those people who are more than glad to become that idol of the people.
In fact this whole thing got started with Adam and Eve when they took the serpent’s advice and ate the fruit in the garden of Eden.
Upon doing this, they were immediately guilty of self-idolatry because they attempted to put themselves in the place of the Lord himself by listening to the serpent’s suggestion to eat the fruit so they too will be like gods.
In our time, the worship of idols has taken on a whole new dimension. Our Western society has gone from one that values living a life to please Christ to one that values money, fame, power…and of course thyself.
These are false gods because they have nothing to do with the love of Christ.
Idolatry of Money
Money has always been the usual suspect when a person starts worshiping something other than Christ. We’re bombarded every day with images on our TV about the amazing lifestyles we could be living if we were only rich.
Women are taught to find a rich husband so they can live in luxury along with being provided a lifetime of security. Good men are passed up because their bank accounts don’t have enough zeros in them.
Meanwhile, men strive to find six-figure jobs where they can afford the high-end sports car, the closet full of new clothes, and the expensive girlfriend who will spend a good amount of his money.
What this kind of thinking creates is a never-ending need for more money.
While these lifestyles may be inviting, they are not what God intended for us. Now, this is not to say that God wants us to live paycheck to paycheck. Hardly. However, we must always ask ourselves why we need more.
If we want that six figure job because we do not have enough saved up to support our families in times of crisis, then by all means, aim to get that high-paying job. If you’re worried about the economy and want to stash away a lot for a catastrophic situation, that too is understandable.
However, if a man is so rich and well off but is continually looking for more, to buy new toys, to recklessly spend money on things he doesn’t need, then he must look into the mirror and see that he has become a slave to money, and that no amount of it will ever be enough.
As for women, if you’re choosing a man solely based on how much earning potential he offers, then it’s time to remind yourself what’s really important in determining what will make a good husband.
As our nation drifts further and further away from being centered around God and Christianity, people have become more and more drawn towards the almighty dollar.
Money isn’t the only thing that creates idolaters out of people. There are other false idols that are wrecking our nation. One of those being fame…
Idolatry Of Fame
The addiction to fame probably hasn’t been around as long as the addiction to money but it’s become a real problem in the last century.
With the invention of TV came TV stars. And soon, the public was shown the lifestyles of these TV and movie stars which caused envy amongst every man and woman gathered around their television set. These celebrities were revered by others as being a type of idol because everyone knew who they were.
Since most people crave attention, fame became something that other people coveted. They too wanted to be in the spotlight and be seen as a type of idol by others.
It seems that with every passing year, the promise of fame seems to have more of a stranglehold over those getting into show business. Shows like “American Idol” are proof that we are worshiping false idols and trying to lure others into believing that they can be gods of sorts.
While people aren’t to blame for wanting to get noticed for their singing ability to start a career in the business, the people who put on the show obviously do not have Christian ideals in mind.
They are not just promoting a chance at a having a career in the music business. Through the guise of finding talent, they are promoting anti-Christian beliefs by elevating one group of people from the masses. Though it might not be as black and white as some other things are, this is what’s going on in America.
As Christians, we must be aware of what we’re supporting by watching these shows.
In the last 10-20 years, we’re seeing more and more of these young pop stars putting on displays of fame for the public to see. We’re told how wonderful they are when they are really nothing more than people who sing for a living.
What’s even more concerning is that these singers are promoting sinful lifestyles through their videos and live acts. Going back to the 80s and 90s when videos ruled the airwaves, musical talent still had a fair bit of restraint when creating videos.
Sure, sex was on display and used for marketing the band or singer in the video. However, those videos seem tame to what we are seeing today.
Women now grind up against men or make disgusting displays of vulgarities. The poster child for this type of behavior is Miley Cyrus who seems to have no shame, no line she won’t cross, and no limit to what she’ll do.
Her crude live acts undermine everything that womanhood has built itself up to be in this last century. There is no sense of grace or ladylike behavior in anything she does onstage or in a video.
What’s worse is the populace don’t seem to care.
If they’re told something is popular and acceptable, then they readily accept that as a truth. They just go with the flow, even if that means Western society crumbling at their feet.
These idolaters seem to be under a spell of sorts and remain transfixed on these “stars”, idolizing one after another.
But it’s not just bands and singers who are part of this problem. Actors, directors, sports stars, and many others are lauded for how popular they are and how everyone else wants to be like them.
The problem is not that these people are good at what they do but that an idolatry is formed around their success.
Idolatry Of Power
As humans, we often feel powerless over our own lives. Because of this, we are always on the hunt to gain more power which makes us feel more in control.
This usually involves climbing to a powerful position in one’s company or aiming to get into a certain line of work to wield this new power. It can also mean having power over others in our relationships.
Often times though, the chance to obtain this power comes with a price. That may range from spending less time with one’s family and friends to abandoning one’s own beliefs.
It can compromise our own ethics and affect our relationship with God.
If someone is given a new title at work along with the authority to manage others, how will they respond to this challenge?
Will they lift up their subordinates so they succeed at their jobs…or will they tear them down just to exercise their new power?
And then there’s our country’s leaders. These are men and women with an abundance of power to make laws, shape society, and lead us down paths of righteousness if they chose to do so.
But as we all know, most of these leaders did not get into the game to become revered for being good leaders. They got into politics to make backroom deals to increase their own wealth.
They pull strings for friends while others get the shaft. And they look to gain even more power so they can feel more like gods and less like one of the populace which they rule over.
As our nation becomes less and less Christian oriented, our leaders seem to gravitate more and more to the dark side.
While we as individuals may not be able to do much about our political leaders or others in positions of power, we do have control over ourselves. We can control the power we have in our own lives.
When looking for more power, we as Christians must always ask ourselves whether the price to pay to achieve additional power is in line with our own beliefs. Are we sacrificing what we believe in and what God wants us to uphold in order to gain more power?
And how are we going to use this new power? Can we use it to somehow help others, or is it just to make us more powerful and more godlike?
Power can often be a slippery slope to take and it’s up to us as Christians to wield any new power with caution and use good judgement even when it is obtained with the best intentions in mind.
Idolatry of One’s Own Self
While money, fame, and power may be the most obvious of the false idols, some idolaters also worship themselves.
Idolatry of thyself can come in many ways. It can manifest itself through the love of one’s appearance. Or it can reveal itself when one is in love with one’s own God-given talent.
Many celebrities today (mostly of the musical variety) have sold their soul to constantly be in the limelight. This type of fame puts them around a lot of people who tell them how great they are just so they can tag along on the ride.
Not only are these celebs in love with fame and the adulation they get from others around them, they intentionally market themselves as idols to be admired by their fans.
This is a shame as it wasn’t too long ago when singers were very modest about what they did and who they were. A man liked Johnny Cash didn’t place himself high above others. He simply went up on stage and sang to please the crowd.
It’s a shame that people in show business can’t be more like this nowadays. Unfortunately, the managers of these people want to raise them to “idol” status instead of having them connect with their audience on a more personal level.
But what about regular people? There are idolaters amongst this crowd too.
The need to take pictures of one’s self wherever they go. The incessant worry about how one looks or the image they portray when around others. This is not how God wants us to live our lives.
For young people especially, self-idolatry has been taken to new lows. Posting pictures on social media in hopes of “gaining likes” and raising their social value amongst friends has become a disturbing trend. Where does it end?
There was a time when being humble really meant something. It was an admired virtue in people. And that virtue made people likeable. It made them approachable to others because others saw that person as someone on their level.
That is until people decided that they’d rather be worshipped by others instead of being liked for their humility.
Because of this change in people’s morals, we now live in a world where things like envy and pride are common traits in everyone. It’s affected our entire society and has brought everyone down to the level of a chimp, where people act on raw emotions instead of striving for righteousness in everything we do.
The Promotion of Idolatry Must Stop
It’s time to return to our Christian roots; a time when we did not think of ourselves as gods or idols but simply one of God’s creations.
There’s nothing wrong in admiring someone’s talents, and it’s great if you have talents of your own and want to express them. But there is only one God and we all worship him from down here on Earth.
It would benefit us as a society to remember this important fact to make life really worth living.