Pastor Raul: Incidental Idolatry

By Pastor Raul Granillo
La Vista Church of the Nazarene
White Rock
 
The idols of the nations are but silver and gold, The work of man’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; they have eyes, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear, nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. (NASB Psalms 135:15-17).
 
The modern practice of idolatry may have less to do with raising something above God and more to do with lowering God below other things. This is more common than we may care to believe.
 
When it comes to idolatry, almost all Christians have been taught that an idol is anything that we hold in higher regard than God. It makes sense then that our primary defense is to be sure that we keep the things of the world in their proper place. After all, we don’t want to raise our careers, finances, or anything else higher than they should be, lest we find ourselves committing idolatry. This mentality is true, but it only addresses half of the potential problem. You see, we do not necessarily need to elevate something in order for it to become an idol, we can simply lower God’s position and accomplish the same thing.
 
When we lower God’s place in our lives, even without elevating anything else, many things become idols by default. What I fear has happened, is that our focus on raising idols has kept us from noticing how much we have brought God down. If God is truly God and we are truly saved by His gracious act of love, then do we hold God in the esteem that we should? I have noticed that, for the most part, modern day, American Christians do not.
 
Consider the very decline in worship attendance in America; it speaks volumes to this reality. God is simply not important enough for us to spend an hour or two, once a week, worshipping Him. I challenge you to consider the reasons you might miss church. If you would not call in “sick” to work for the same reason, then your job is more important to you than worshipping God. This is not to say that you have elevated your job to a higher status than it deserves, only that, somehow, God’s status has been brought down below it. This is idolatry.
 
Parents who give their children a choice about attending church and reading the Bible have declared, quite clearly, that their God is not as important to them as He should be. As parents, we set the foundational platform for God’s position in our children’s lives. How often do we begin by setting it too low? When our children can keep us from attending church, it is probably because God is not where He should be in our lives. This is idolatry. Not by raising our children higher than they should be, but by having lowered God so much that we think it more important to please our kids than to worship God.
 
Our nation should be important to us. We should practice patriotism and respect. We know that we should not elevate our country and our government above God. Yet our lack of reverence for the Creator of all things has caused many to get more upset when a person kneels at the anthem than at the dehumanization of God’s created people. It is not that we have elevated our country, it is that we have lowered God. This is idolatry. We should have respect for the flag, but we should adore and worship God. Participating in the work of the Church and seeking personal holiness should be much more important that what is happening on a football field.
 
This is important because it speaks to the real issue. Every bit of pain and suffering that we face in this world is the result of our lack of holiness. The rape, the hate, the violence, the poverty, the disrespect; every bit of it is because we, most often, do not see God as God. Instead, we see Him as a big brother that will defend us when needed but has no real authority in our lives. He is so much more than that!
 
Let us be intentional about our reverence for God. He created you. Jesus became incarnate for you. He conquered death for you. He loves you and desires to give you life and to bring life through you. He should be more than the priority of your life, He should consume it.
 
Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 150:1-6).
 
If you have a Biblical question, comment, or concern, please feel free to email me at raul@lavistanaz.org.
 
To find out more about La Vista Church, or to hear this and other messages, visit our website at www.lavistanaz.org. Follow Pastor Raul on Twitter @RaulGranillo007.
 
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. Our NEW HOURS are Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10:30 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!
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