1. To honor and love as a deity.
2. To regard with ardent or adoring esteem or devotion.
Now, when you apply that to a Christian worshipping God that can happen practically in several ways. I think the most common is praying, maybe not the first that leaps to mind, but it’s the second meaning of the noun worship “prayers by which this love [of God] is expressed” and the second would be by singing, the songs usually talk about how wonderful God is, or something wonderful He has done for us. Although the easiest explanation I’ve found was on wiki answers Q) How do Christians worship? A) They follow their heart and follow the moves of the holy spirit Christians believe there is no specific way to worship Jesus Christ!
Which is to say the highest form of worship is striving to be like the object you worship. Copying is the highest form of flattery… you can think it through yourselves.
That’s the veg and potatoes out of the way, onto the meat of the blog.
Idolatry is a common theme in the old testament, by which I mean every problem in the old testament is either directly because of idolatry, or because of God losing patience with the idol-worshippers and them suffering the consequences of ignoring God.
There are two main things that are important to know about idols if you are going to avoid accidentally worshipping them. (Worshipping being used to say you make them more important/as important as you consider God). Firstly, what is an idol, second how do idols present in modern culture, what do they look like, how are they worshipped?
Well in old testament idols were usually physical things, a statuette covered in precious metals, or maybe a full sized statue depending on the wealth of the builders, and how much gold/silver they had handy. While this was a common practice throughout the world (and still exists in some forms and religions, such as Buddha statutes) back then, it is less common now.
Now the physical form of idolatry has been replaced and altered, it might take the form of your ceiling covered in JLS posters, or pictures of Aragon’s face, but surely just having statutes and pictures doesn’t mean I worship them does it?
No, of course not!
A picture is always just a picture, until you begin to think of it as more important than just a picture, then it starts to get risqué.
When you subconsciously or consciously make something an idol it’s when you set your ambitions on becomes like it, or becoming what it represents. So somebody can idolize an ideal body image, and spend hours and hours, hundreds of pounds and oodles of effort in order to becomes the “right shape” when actually, they are already beautiful and healthy the way they are. If you reach the point where money and wealth become more important than your health, friend and or family has it gone to far?
I guess the way I’m describing it makes it sound like an obsession caused by a chemical imbalance or by a psychological disorder, what I’m getting at is saying that as far as Christians need be concerned about idols, something is an idol when it becomes more important than God, when “finishing this X” is more important than getting to Church, when you’re so tired from a long day that you don’t have time to do a Bible Study. When pressures and complexities result in you not having time to chill out and listen to God, then you have a problem with one or more idols.
The above paragraphs don’t do well at directly answering either question, but I think they give a good feel to the nature of idols, and certainly the first question is answered.
As to “How idols present themselves in modern culture” I think you’ll find they are everywhere. We have magazines dedicated to idolizing our own or other’s body images, we have a culture that teaches us about the importance of money and education, the subtext always seems to be “you have to be wealthy and well educated to be happy” but really happiness is about how you go about living your life.
The only real way to make sure that we don’t make idols for ourselves is to maintain constant vigilance, by which I mean keep an eye on how you spend your time, ask yourself “If God told me to give this up, would I do it?” If you have to think then you’ve got a lot more thinking to do.
Thanks for reading