We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
The reformer John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion said it best when he said “The human heart is a perpetual idol factory.” C.S. Lewis in his book, Weight of Glory put it this way, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Almost instinctively from birth, the human heart finds things that enthrall and that capture the affections. Often these are culturally inclined- a dad teaches his sons to love guns, cars, and sports; a mom teaches her daughter to love purses, shoes, and shopping. From the early formative years, parents train their kids to worship certain items. For a young man, it is a make and model of car. For a young woman, it is a brand name on a handbag. And sadly, while the command of God is “keep yourselves from idols,” fathers and mothers daily chisel idols into the hearts of their children. Sadly, when you add social pressures of idolatry to the cultural pressures of the home, it should be no surprise that covetousness and greed dominate our world.
This parental influence towards idolatry is displayed clearly in Genesis 31. Jacob and his wives, Leah and Rachel, depart from the country of Laban, and head back to Canaan to see Isaac, Jacob’s father. The idolatry of the parent became the covetous tendencies of the child, when Rachel went back into her father’s house and stole his idols. His worship of those idols in front of his daughter had firmly ensconced in her heart their value, and when the opportunity presented it, the garden of greed that Laban had cultivated in her life produced the sister fruits of idolatry and thievery.
May this stand as a parable to all those who would worship something besides God. Beyond the blatant foolishness of worshipping something that is fashioned by the hands of man, there is an inherent disregard for God and for holy living.
Know that just like Laban, your worship will influence those who look up to you. Will you worship the one worthy of praise? Or will you find lesser things to worship and with your influence, chisel an idol on the hearts of those who follow you?
Food for Thought: You worship affects those around you. How can you worship God in such a way that those around you would desire to worship Him too?