Why do People Worship Idols?
By Barbara Henderson
In ancient times, there were people who openly worshiped idols; images of something to which they prayed requesting that some gift or favor be granted them. They may have thought that their image of gold, silver, or even wood was just a representation of some deity; but, never the less, it was a manmade object to which they prayed. Idols were/are appealing because:
Idols do not see your sin.
Idols do not hear your sin.
Idols have no authority to require that you turn from your sin.
Idols have no power to condemn you for your sins.
Idols have no divinely inspired book of rules by which you are to live, thus you are allowed to do what is right in your own eyes.
Idols are just a disgusting form of self worship, allowing the idolater to indulge whatever sin their heart desires. In theory - the self-worshiper/authority is doing their own thing without consequence. Of course there are consequences and they are very dire!
Idol worshipers are really worshipers of their own lusts.
For the heart in rebellion against God, idols provide a way to set their own ways above the ways of righteousness according to God. Today, people in general are still idol worshipers. They may not bow down to an image made by someone who is an idol maker by trade, but they are still idol worshippers.
Common idols include:
One’s own self righteousness. How can someone righteous in his or her own eyes ever come to an understanding of the need of salvation as explained in the Bible?
A desire for the goodwill of men. Matthew Henry says, ‘It is no new thing for what is done faithfully, in conscience toward God, to be misrepresented as done obstinately, and in contempt of civil powers.’ (Daniel 6:11-17) What will the good will of men do anyone on judgment day?
An example of seeking the good will of man on the global scale is government officials and so-called preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaiming alliances with Islam. They proclaim it to be a religion of peace, and even worse, proclaim God Almighty to be a different name for Allah. Allah is simply a created being just as everything and everyone else. He has no power to create anything. He has no power to cast anyone into hell.
Why do they speak such lies and heresy? It is because they desire the good will of men. Eventually those who continue to follow the exact teachings of God are misrepresented as ‘haters’ and as ‘standing in the way of peace’.
Impatience. Temporary success, recognition, and self gratification are the pillars on which decisions are made. No thought is given for the eternal or even near future consequences of immediate actions.
One’s own preferences. People prefer certain things in life. For instance, everyone has preferences in music. In fact, music is probably one of the most divisive things in all creation. In music, God’s preferences are seldom considered. Music is a gift to mankind from God. Through Godly music we are able to praise and worship God. Ungodly music is often preferred by many who call themselves Christians. They love their ‘music’ more than they love God. Their music is an idol. In their love affair with their idol, they take the idol to church with them and flaunt their own preferences above the righteousness of God.
One’s own glory. When someone supposes themselves to have accomplished all on their own, whether making a fortune or passing through great trials successfully, the glory of accomplishment is kept for that person alone. They don’t consider that the great men of the Bible such as Moses and Daniel were very clear that their accomplishments were done through the power of God, and not anything in themselves. Those who love to take credit may have ‘glory’ today, but what will they have on judgment day?
Idol worshipers may have a guilty conscience. They know their actions are not in line with what God wants them to do. In order to reconcile their sin with the will of God, they ‘sacrifice’ their sinful preferences to God. That means they bring their idols to church because they cannot live without them. They present these idols to God as though they were worshiping Him, when in reality, they are just indulging their own desires. That is where you get a lot of garbage and pure baloney in the church. Yoga and other pagan practices are brought into the church. Mindless meditation is common in the church. It has replaced meditating on the goodness of God and His words.
When a church separates families more than it brings them together, the church system is being worshiped more than the things of God. Some idol worshipers don’t like their home life, so they invent things to do at church in order to avoid improving their marriage and home. Hen parties called ‘ladies meetings’ and other such nonsense is pushed on silly women. Men’s visitation is another avenue of escape for men not happy at home. Such activities may be done in sincerity and have good value. However, no matter what ‘activity’ it may be, if it separates family more than it brings them together, it is definitely NOT something of which God approves. Those neglecting family in favor of service to the church or socialization with church members are neither worshiping nor pleasing God. For some Christians, being the ‘most faithful’ church member becomes an idol.
Growth oriented churches love to ‘grow’ more than they love to teach the truths of God, build strong families, and properly disciple new converts. Growing a larger church becomes an idol of more importance than the things of God. In the end, there may be a large structure filled with people who are totally ignorant of the original purpose of the church.
Whatever is placed before God is an idol.
Christian priorities should be:
God - love God with all your heart and mind and soul.
Family – love and do what is best according to God for your family.
Church – Christians are to attend a church that teaches the truths of God without apology or deviation.
After these three priorities, there is work and love of country.
It is easy to point out reasons for idol worship, and common idols.
It is much more difficult to avoid living as an idol worshipper ourselves.
This requires that Christians:
Stay vigilant because the devil really is trying to destroy them
Are willing to acknowledge sin when they realize something is sin. This includes
practices in the church that come from heathen/infidel/pagan worship instead of from the teachings of the Bible (yoga, mindless meditation, ungodly music….)
Are willing to turn from sin once it is identified .
The better you know God the more you will love Him.
The more you love Him, the more you will seek to please Him.
The true and sincere follower of Christ must:
‘Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.’ 2 Timothy 2:15
AND do the things Christ says to do.
‘And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do no things which I say?’ Luke 6:46
All people, including Christians, will think, speak, and act according to the priorities of their hearts. Christians should examine their own lives constantly to make sure their own thoughts, speech, and actions are in line with what is pleasing to God.