Worship Must Resist Idolatry
This year’s Alliance Women theme, “Belong”, is about inviting us to come just as we are to the table that Jesus has set for us. When we accept Jesus’ gracious invitation, we find the sense of belonging we all yearn for. Oh, how beautiful it is to take our place at Jesus’ table! There, we can relinquish all that keeps us from worship and a close relationship with the one true God.
However, our focus can easily turn away from His table. If you’re like me, you may have found yourself walking towards Him, only to become easily distracted. Other things that seem to offer safety and comfort may earn my trust, but then they misguide me and ultimately drive me away from Jesus. When other priorities become of more value and importance to us than God, we are placing them above Him, thus making them our idols.
We all have idols. Growing up in a country where Catholicism is predominant, I thought that idolatry meant only the worship and veneration of statues. But idolatry involves more than that. Any time we offer our adoration and attention that belongs to God to other things, we are guilty of idolatry. The real danger is not in worshipping a specific object, but in anything that keeps us away from having a genuine relationship with our Lord Jesus, fully surrendered to Him.
Too often, despite my desire to worship God, I struggle with letting go of things that bring me pleasure. I may say that I love God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind (Matthew 22:37), but not all of me is surrendered in worship to the One who deserves it all. These things I cling to are what have taken over pieces of my heart. They have become my idols.
For some, an idol could be a general need for control, or specific things that make us feel accepted, such as busyness, family, or work. When these things take precedence, there isn’t room or time for God to be the center of our lives. We are unable to submit our hearts and souls completely to the One that can truly and genuinely satisfy. Our worship may be incomplete because Jesus is Lord in only certain areas of our lives.
In his book Beautiful Resistance, Jon Tyson states that “God is not interested in our behavior. He wants our hearts.” We should earnestly search for a relationship deeply rooted in Scripture and true confession, inviting Jesus to come and free us from the idols that have taken His place. Total submission, relinquishing all areas in our lives that keep us from offering Him true worship, allows God to search in the deepest and darkest corners of our hearts. With full assurance of His grace, we can, in return, fix our eyes on Jesus alone, discovering His beauty and fully experiencing His unfailing love for us.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23–24, KJV)