God does not want His people to worship anything or anyone else because He wants their hearts to belong to Him. (Joshua 24:23) In the Bible, God warns us often about misplaced worship because He knows that every man’s heart is prone to worship other things. He refers to misplaced worship as IDOLATRY. Idolatry is the worst thing we can do before God. (Leviticus 19:4, I John 5:21)
How can we recognize idols of the heart?
When we make something other than God our primary focus and goal we are clearly engaged in idol worship. We worship what we believe we desperately need or must have in order to be happy (James 4:1-3). When we worship idols we are living for self. An idol is anything that we consistently make equal to or more important than God in our attention, desire, devotion, and choices.
Here are some things people may worship other than or in addition to the God of the Bible:
When we worship an idol, we give our heart to it rather than giving our heart to God (Ezekiel
14:5). A Christian may not give his heart over entirely, but he can certainly have divided allegiance.
Nothing is to take His place or even come close to it (Matthew 10:37/Luke 14:25–
35). God does not accept divided worship. We need to ask God to help us unite our heart to seek only Him (Psalm 86:11). He is determined and faithful to reveal our idols or vanities (I Kings 16:13) and to reclaim our heart.
Ways God reveals idols to us:
1. God has given His Word and His Spirit to consistently speak to this
issue (Hebrews 4:12/I Cor. 6:19).
2. God may frustrate our idols by withholding them, or He may allow us
to experience the futility of our idols by granting them
3. God may give us a living example (a person) of true worship to
convict us. Elijah-I Kings 18:26,36.
4. God may administer loving discipline. Because God cares for His
own, a person who is not being convicted, frustrated, or chastened in
his idol worship may not be one of God’s children at all.
When we worship other idols, we naturally distance ourselves from fellowship from God. God does not move, but we do. In our disappointments and difficulties of life, we turn from trusting in God to trusting in other things for help/comfort/peace/strength and even safety.
What many turn to as false refuges:
You may ask this morning: What’s wrong with some of these things you have listed? The problem lies in the place of importance we give them (Psalm 62: 5-8).
What God wants from you: Forsake any idols in your life.
You can forsake idols by:
1. Asking God to search your heart and reveal any idols you may be
worshipping as you evaluate your life and worship of God.
2. Confessing your sin to God. Psalm 51:3,4,17.
3. Repenting: Turn away from the pursuit of your idol and turn to the
worship of God alone by: Determining how to rightly view your
idol/pursuing a passion for God. Ezekiel 14:6.
4. Removing the possibility of idol worship.
5. Being on guard. Be watchful and prayerful concerning habitual or
new idol worship (I Peter 1:13-16; I Thes. 5:6/I John 5:21)
What we worship is our passion. When we are passionate about Christ alone, we will have the right desires and expectations. In turn these desires will have a profound effect on our decisions, our actions, and our joy.