“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…” (Exodus 20:4-5a)
We are created to worship. Many years ago I attended a session on worship, and our speaker was bold enough to say that “all our life is worship to something, whether it is to God or not.” It really made me think, and still comes to mind every now and then. As I started looking at this week’s passage I was once again brought back to that idea of all of life as worship. God desires our worship to be for him, and for him alone. Instead, we are so easily tempted to divide our worship among other things: television, pornography, sports, money, sometimes even our work. We may not think of it as worship, but how we live tells a different story.
The idol of money, for example, was exposed vividly in the more recent collapse of the economy. In his book Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller writes, “Some hung themselves, shot themselves behind the wheel of their expensive sport cars, slit their wrists, leapt from their office buildings.” All this they did because their god was taken from them. Similarly, I see more and more frequently how school and sport extracurricular activities are playing a more prominent role in our lives. It used to be that church activities came first. Schools avoided placing activities on Sundays or Wednesday nights. That is now becoming less the reality. Kids have to choose between taking a sport or going to church on Sunday morning. They have to decide whether they want to be a part of a school play or attend Wednesday night discipleship programs. For many, this is not a question. But, it becomes an increasingly difficult decision to make. The idols of our culture creep into our lives without us even realizing. Rather than worshiping our creator, we fall into worshiping created things.
Jesus Christ died in our place for our idolatry. He rescued us from sin, so that we could be reconciled to God. He wants us to turn away from our idols and give him our complete worship. God wants us to enjoy, care for and be thankful for created things. But, our worship and service should be for Him, and Him alone. Love God, and serve him only. Loving God is foundational for everything else. Everything we do is a spillover of the heart.