I watched the annual “dethroning” process of our city’s patron saint as a requirement for my Anthropology class last semester and realized how many of these people do not realize or acknowledge the idolatry that they are committing by worshipping this man-made nonliving statue, that a lot of these people are going actually to hell despite their practice of religion, never realizing that they were heading there in the first place.
To realize that everything one has invested in had been in vain… that’s what makes it saddest, isn’t it?
I suppose this is why we Christians are mandated to share the gospel to the world because a lot of people are deceived. A lot of people do not realize they have fallen short of God’s standard. A lot of people are actually contented with their little religion thinking that what they are doing is sufficient to merit at least a tiny room in heaven.
We Christians know better than that and yet we do not always go out of our way to tell these people the truth. I myself am guilty of such.
But of all the things that bothered me most, it was my quick accusation of their idolatry that made me think twice about my perspective regarding it. How do we define idolatry? GodQuestion.org defines idolatry as the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person of thing. Basically, an idol is anything that replaces the one, true God.
Idolatry therefore is not exclusive to statue worship. Anything that we put before God in our lives can be considered an idol. Anything. Our idols may not only be in the form of images or statues.
Furthermore idolatry is not exclusive to the non-Christians; even Christians fall into the sin of idolatry often. What makes our idolatry unique is that though we may not worship graven images or statues of saints, we have the habit of making little idols out of the things in our lives– people, achievements, prestige, etc.– and there is nothing more dangerous than subtle idolatry.
It is easier to pinpoint blatant idol worship and call it as it is than to diagnose subtle idolatry; no one really knows what’s in the heart of another person. Only God sees.
Let us not let ourselves be deceived. Let us call the things in our lives that we give more credit and devotion than they are due as they are and repent of our sin. We cannot reason or argue before God: sin is sin even if we do not see it as such.
God desires holy dwelling places. God cannot dwell with people with unclean hearts. God desires our sole worship and devotion. He demands to be the focal point of our lives. Let us dethrone our idols and cleanse our altars. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. Let us pursue holiness in our lives for without which we cannot see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)