“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set you minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3
I was a junior in college when I first met my wife, Rosie. And at that point in my life I wasn’t in the best physical shape. In high school I was a running machine—I loved it, and ran all the time, but when I entered college I started to eat horribly and put on a few pounds. And when I met Rosie, one of the things that she was really into was running. The girl ran all the time and truly loved it. And since I really liked her, I started to run again too. In fact, I started running all the time.
We all know that the things that we love most in this life actually become who we are. They change our behavior. And there is a sense in which this is really what worship is; it is when we love and adore something to such an extent that it begins to transform us. The flip side of that is that our lives can often tell us much about what it is we actually worship.
This is why when God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments, the very first commandment was “You shall have no other gods before me.” Now, you have to know from the start that the Ten Commandments weren’t given so that the Israelites could prove to God how good they were and therefore earn his love. No, he already loved them, and that’s why he gave them his law. So, the first commandment makes perfect sense. God knows that if you were made for him, and if you put anything else in his place then it will actually hurt you instead of make you grow.
To worship something other than God is what we call idolatry. Now, get the little images of wooden or gold statues out of your head. Idolatry is simply this: trusting anything more than, or alongside of God. It is the thing you center your life upon and around. It is the thing that gives your life meaning and purpose.
This means that we are capable of making idols out of almost anything in our lives. Not just bad things, but very good things as well. Let’s take an easy one. I like to be comfortable. Comfort is not a bad thing, right? I don’t like things to be too hard, but if I put that in the center of my life it throws everything off balance.
Or maybe it could be something like good grades. Making good grades is not a bad thing, it’s a great thing. But if it becomes the thing that gives your life ultimate meaning, then you are going to be an anxious wreck! If it’s your grades that define you, then they will rule over you…they will be your master. You can go down the list and think about what you are tempted to worship: approval of friends, a certain image, athleticism…the list could go on and on.
So, today try to notice your idols. See what they say to you and how they ask you to perform. See how they seem to promise peace and freedom, but they never really deliver. And then think about your Maker and Creator. Think about how even though you have sinned and turned away from him, he has sought you out, redeemed you and made you his child. Think about the fact that he is not a harsh master, but actually wants you to become more and more beautiful!