At Gospel Life, I have been teaching through the Old Testament book of Jonah. In chapter 2, aleast briefly, Jonah was conscious in the great fish—long enough to realize that God had saved him from drowning on the bottom of the sea. And during that period (or perhaps periods) of consciousness, Jonah prays and is confronted with his sin and it happens to be the sin of idolatry. Idolatry is turning good things like family, success, acceptance, money, marriage, kids, career into a god-things (Ultimate Things) – making them into something that is worshipped and place at the center of life. Idolatry is the sin that underlines all sins. The sin of idolatry is building life and meaning on anything other than God.
Martin Lloyd-Jones defines an idol as “anything in my life that occupies the place that should be occupied by God alone. An idol is anything that holds such a controlling position in my life that it moves and rouses and attracts me so easily that I give my time, my attention, my energy and my money to it effortlessly.”
During this sermon, I challenged the people of Gospel Life to identify the idols in their life that they are worshipping. The answers to the following questions will help you reveal what you are truly trusting in, no matter who you profess to worship. These are the things that you have elevated in your life over God and are worshipping.
1. What do you worry about most?
2. What, if you failed or lost it, would cause you to feel that you did not even want to live?
3. What do you use to comfort yourself when things go bad or get difficult?
4. What do you do to cope? What are your release valves? What do you do to feel better?
5. What preoccupies you? What do you daydream about?
6. What makes you feel the most self-worth? Of what are you the proudest?
7. What do you want to be known for? What do you want to be your legacy?
8. What do you lead with in conversations?
9. Early on what do you want to make sure that people know about you?
10. What prayer, if it went unanswered, would make you seriously think about turning away from God?
11. What do you really want and expect out of life? What would really make you happy?
12. What is you hope for the future?
The idols you are worshipping are false saviors that cannot save you. They cannot and will not ever satisfy you. Only Jesus can save you and can satisfy you. Salvation begins and ends with Jesus Christ. So turn from your idols and trust in Jesus!
When you read the gospels, you will notice that during Jesus' ministry he was constantly identifying and challenging people’s idols, calling them to turn from their false objects of worship in order to follow and worship Him alone.
I’m convinced that the reason there is so much shallow Christianity in our culture and why so many "Christians" look just like the world is because they have never completely replace the idolatry in their lives with Jesus, but instead have simply added Jesus on to their life, keeping their idol(s) firmly in the center. If we are to live the abundant life that Jesus created us for and saved us for, we MUST identify the idols, crush them by the power of the Holy Spirit and replace them with the savior of the world, Jesus Christ.