The Anatomy of Contemporary Idolatry [6]

By: Dr. Steven C. Riser

1 John 5:21 – “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”

1 Corinthians 10:14 – “My dear friends, flee from idolatry.”

VI. What Is The Practical Application Against Idolatry?

A final question that we all need to ask is: “What do we bow down to?”

Every once in a while, get off the merry-go-round and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What am I doing?
  2. What should I be doing?
  3. What should I be doing next?
  4. What should I not be doing?
  5. What persons or things do you have that you devote yourselves to more than to God?

Now it’s time to stop preaching and to start meddling:

Are you superstitious? Do you look to someone/something other than God for guidance on how to live your life? Do you even read, let alone consider, what your Horoscope says in the newspaper? Do you believe that something, like heavenly bodies, ultimately controls the universe?

Do you hold certain people like sports stars or entertainers or musicians or actors in high esteem – so high that they eclipse your desire for God? Or eclipse your need to look to godly people for your role models?

What do you think is the worse idol – the most prevalent idol – in our culture? Perhaps our most dangerous temptation lies in the idolization of the unholy trinity: me, myself and I. Our greatest danger is self-deification and the selfish pursuit of happiness.

Our happiness is not the ultimate goal in life. Do not make yourself an idol. We make ourselves an idol when we put ourselves on the throne of our lives. We need to understand that things will not ultimately make us happy. To want to be happy is not wrong but to worship happiness is wrong.

How many marriages and families have been ruined because one person selfishly worshipped happiness, that is, because one person put his happiness above doing what he knew God wanted him to do?

The pursuit of happiness isn’t a god worthy of our worship or a goal to be directly pursued. It’s like chasing after the wind; it can’t be caught. Rather, happiness is a by-product of being rightly related to God and bringing glory to God. Real happiness is found in living a life of holiness, devotion, worship and loving service to Jesus Christ.

Is it any wonder that the Apostle John’s closing words in his first epistle were: “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21)?

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