“You Shall Have no other Gods before me” Exodus 20:3
Even those who are nominally in church know this one. It is probably the most destructive and dangerous sin listed in the Bible. One can’t read through the Old Testament without seeing the consequences of breaking this Commandment, yet so many Christians today struggle to keep it. If Christianity has Easter, Judaism has Passover and Islam has Ramadan, then the highest of holy days here in America, and especially in the South would be Saturdays and Sunday’s in the fall. The houses of worship are the largest buildings in the country where up to 100,000 people gather for worship, the tithes given are in the millions and the worship is enthusiastic, passionate and committed. The object of worship is a small cylindrical piece of leather and the men who use it. If their was ever a national religion in America it would be football (college and professional depending on where you live) and the season of worship is upon us. All of that sounds pretty hyperbolic and over the top but when you compare our enthusiasm and dedication for football and our teams to our commitments to our church or even our worship of God it seems spot on—whether it makes us uncomfortable or not.
Idolatry is defined as reverence, adulation and even veneration and worship is defined as “ascribing worth” then what are we really giving the most adulation and ascribing worth to? We “worship” or ascribe somethings worth to us by the amount of time, treasure, effort and energy we put into it. So how does your “worship” of God match up with “worship” of football. If you are expending more time, treasure, effort and energy into anything more than your worship of God, it is idolatry—plain and simple. Think about what you spend more money on or give more money towards? What are you more committed to? Who do you talk about more? I love college football and love Saturdays in the south, but is it any wonder so many Christians are struggling in their devotion and walk with God? Is it surprising that we rarely see the power of God released in our lives? What does it say about us that we are quick to complain when the preacher goes 5 minutes long and we have to stay in church past noon and yet we are thrilled when a 5 hour football game goes into overtime? Maybe we should at least be honest with ourselves. It would be nice if we were just balanced; but even balanced would be idolatry. God alone is worthy of our worship and our lives and even our recreation time should see that proved out.
“My dear friends, flee from idolatry” 1st Corinthians 10:14