Be Careful What You Worship

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I ventured onto the dangerous path of posting a Facebook comment yesterday. I know the Scripture that says, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking...”(Proverbs 10:19), but I did it anyway.

The quotation I posted was from D.A. Carson’s excellent daily devotional book, “For the Love of God.” Commenting on one of the daily readings (Hosea 9), Carson wrote, “To defend a king or a president because of his economic policies when the moral core has evaporated means we have become as vile as the things we love.” I left this comment without context or application. I will let people draw their own political conclusions.

Spiritually speaking, however, the principle that Carson is drawing out is that of idolatry. The greatest evil of idolatry is that it lies about God – it robs him of the glory due his name. Idolatry has serious consequences for the false worshipper. If we worship the wrong things, we become like the thing we worship. G.K. Beale wrote a book on this subject, You Become What You Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry. Dr. Beale was not making this stuff up. The Bible is full of warnings regarding the consequences of idolatry. The thesis of his book is, “What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or for restoration.”

One of the key New Testament texts that teaches this truth is Romans 1:18-32. When we exchange the worship of God for the worship of man-made things – including our own sinful desires – God will hand us over to the very things we have worshipped, to our utter ruin.

As we watch people argue about politics, jockey for position at work, or even strive for recognition on social media we must take a look in the mirror and ask, “What do I worship?” What we desire, what we revere, the things that demand our highest allegiance will shape us and conform us to their image.

As the Apostle John said right at the end of his first epistle – seemingly out of the blue – is always a good warning: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”