Idol Worship

I used to not think much about idol worship, but I am coming to believe that this may be one of the most detrimental factors in our worship culture today. Certainly we don’t have physical idols that we worship in our Christian churches, but we have things that vie for our attention which, in reality, are our idols. While they may not be as overt as physical objects of worship, they are probably much more dangerous.

There is a free giveaway of a book out on this subject. David C. Cook gives away a free book a week. This week’s book is “No Other Gods: Confronting Our Modern-day Idols” and is free this week only.

Though I have not read the book yet, it looks to be a promising look at modern day idol worship. The author is Kelly Minter, who is also a worship leader and songwriter. She writes:

But what about the false gods that are inherently good? Things like friends, spouses, material possessions? The things that have only become bad because we have made them the “ultimate” things in our lives. In some ways, this feels more common. John Calvin puts it similarly: “The evil in our desire typically does not lie in what we want, but that we want it too much”.

I also love this video. It has great lyrics. Don’t miss the bridge at 3:02. Anything that I put before my God is an idol. Anything that I want with all my heart is an idol. Anything that I can’t stop thinking of is an idol. Anything that I give all my love is an idol. Great challenge.

17 comments to Idol Worship

  • Brittany Moultroup

    No kidding- I needed to hear this today, thank you for posting! Heard Jubilate was in chapel today! Sounded awesome! 🙂

  • Roger

    Thanks Brittany! Yes, we were in chapel today. Early in the semester, but it was fun!

  • David

    This is an excellent book! I’m about 1/3 of the way through it since downloading it on Monday. Really challenging my thinking when it comes to idols in my life, and how I go about my worship leading in the local church knowing that idols really consume us more than we know.

  • Nathan Stewart

    Great song about worship, thanks for passing it along Roger! I can see using it in choir rehearsals, classes or worship gatherings. Great reminder.

    • Roger

      Nathan – yes, have used it and people have responded very well. I think there are other recordings too.

    • Allison

      I used to think the Israelites were crazy for idol worship who would bow down before a log? Then I figured out I have idols. It’s a constant choice to to take them off the throne of my life and put them on the altar as an offering.

  • Eric M. Stigall

    Really interesting thoughts… enjoyed the video especially the line that says, “you can sing all you want to, but still get it wrong.” Really makes us think about are true worship to God and what it means… and reminds us that anything we put before God is an idol!

  • Jordan Redfield

    I both love and hate this topic. I love it because I find it fascinating, and hate it because every time I think about it I without fail recognize idols in my own life that need to be “cleared.” So I think you’re spot on by labeling idol worship as a serious problem in our churches. I love how Rob Turner put it back during Bible conference when he said: “At least Buddhists are open about their idolatry.” Couldn’t agree more! Also, this video/song is incredible. So grounded in biblical truth and includes practical solutions to this problem of idolatry!

  • David Johnson

    Wow. This is so true. I agree with Jordan, this is a fascinating topic, but i love and hate it. I think this is a huge struggle for each person. The bridge of the song really spoke to me. I think many times when we here the term “idol” we think of physical things like little statues or whatever, but it is so much more than that. ANYTHING we put before God is an idol. I think this is something that every Christian needs to realize. I know I will definitely be trying harder to “clear out” the idols in my life. God must be FIRST in our lives, and nothing else should take the place of that. Thanks for the challenge!

  • Peter Hamblen

    I have to say that material or physical objects are what immediately come to my mind when thinking about idols. This discussion was a great reminder for me that anything can be an idol: people, status, grades. As a student, knowledge can become an easy idol. It is so important to make sure that serving God is the focus of life and that everything else flows out of that focus. Thanks for the challenge.

  • Isaac Murrell

    For straight up transparency, thinking about this reminds and convicts me that my heart is cluttered with idols, and I believe that everyone is in this boat. In a way, not to be emotional, but this puts me in distress because how are ever to be free of all of these good things which we make ultimate everyday? obviously, prayer will help us in and through this, but how are we suppose to respond? Do we isolate ourselves from the good things in life so that we don’t make them an idol or is it more about realizing that God needs to be our everything and our satisfaction? I lean more toward the latter. Relationships and personal appearance (status, looking successful, american dream mentality, etc) I think are some of the most common things that can become ultimate things in our lives. They are in mine. In a way, I don’t know how to solve this heart problem, but I am thankful that God is merciful, gracious and bigger than our hearts, and that he is willing to forgive and unclutter his temple. I know that prayer and consistant repentance will be effective in this area.

  • Peter Pieringer

    Wow. The part of this song that hit me the hardest was the second verse. It reminded me of just how discretely these idols can become a focus of our hearts and minds. When we’re not consistently coming to God and asking for his Word to be spoken into our lives and surrendering up the earthly desires in our heart that have the potential to become our focus, they can truly dominate. We’re human, and we’re broken. While we have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, we still have that “sin residue” that we must deal with. But praise God, that He is merciful and when we just COME to Him in humility, He is good and faithful to help us overcome that. But we must remember that we NEED to keep coming to Him, surrendered. Once we stop relying on Him those idols will resurface and conquer.

  • Joe Bennett

    Mm, good stuff. Beautiful lyrics, no doubt about that. The picture in this post immediately reminds me of the time I spent in India last summer. There were physical idols (like the elephant pictured above) everywhere, and after a short while it was no surprise to see them every time I turned. In the same way, can’t we see our idols of the American dream, people-pleasing, relationships, and money(to name a small few) everywhere we turn? And how often do we stop to worship these things by treating them as the “ultimate” thing in our lives? I agree with your comment that idol worship may be one of the most detrimental factors in our worship culture today. What agreement has the temple of God with idols? Needham’s call to do whatever it takes to be rid of idols, to “pray for real upon your knees until they blister” needs to be heard in the church. Needham won’t take idolatry in his life lightly. When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth saying to “Flee from idolatry,” he wasn’t taking it lightly either. We must drop our idols and run. And what a joy to run to Jesus and to treasure Christ with all that we are!
    “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”

  • Jacob Tudor

    The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of idol worship is the story of Daniel. This particular part is one that is often overlooked- but it really says so much, I get so excited about it! In Daniel 1:8, we read that Daniel refused to eat the food off of Nebuchadnezzar’s table. Which at first glance, this really doesn’t say a whole lot. But when you do a little bit of research on this particular verse, you find that the Israelites believed food from Nebuchadnezzar’s table to be contaminated because the first portion was offered to idols. And Daniel refused himself something so necessary to his very existence, his life, because it did not honor the one and only true God first! That to me is absolutely unbelievable- his faith and courage to be able to do something so bold! It’s also really convicting, because I know that I do not do that myself, even to things that would be seemingly easy- to run and flee from anything that came before God in my life. Whether it be music, movies, books, etc. that were elevated above God and did not bring glory to God… Absolutely mind-blowing! And the song by Jimmy Needham! So awesome! I really appreciate his music- he has been greatly gifted in writing music that have fantastic messages, and are aesthetically pleasing, biblically sound, make you think, and are catchy and easy to remember… Gahhh!

  • Rocky Taylor

    After listening to this song, I was reminded of so many things. First of all, I was reminded of how jealous God is for us. Throughout the Bible we see that our God is a jealous God, and how he wants to be first in all parts of our lives. To think that God pursues us and longs to be first in our lives is incredible. Second, I was reminded of how easy it is to let other things in our lives to become an idol. Like what other people have mentioned, it is easy to make a good thing and turn it to be an end in itself. Also, I loved the point that Jimmy kept on alluding to is that worship is more than a song. This point reminded me of how God is more interested in the condition of our heart than how we sing. How easy is it for us to be more concerned about the sound, lights, and the other things that go into a worship service than to give that much attention to the condition of our hearts. Yes, making sure the service goes well is important, and that we should do everything we do with excellence, but our heart and where we stand with God should be first priority. This song was a great reminder.

  • Jason Carnegis

    This video and subject just reminds of the importance of keeping God first in our lives. When we read about idols, we always think of idols as statues or material possessions that we value more than God. This video reminded me personally that anything I put in front of God is labeled as an idol. There are so many great things that God has blessed us with, but because of sin, they can be turned into something evil that hinders our relationship with God. A marriage or relationship can turn into an idol if we think about it and value it more than our relationship with God.
    As a worship leader, it can be easy to make music an idol in our lives and to put more value in making the worship service perfect than giving it to God. We need to remind ourselves that things of this world will eventually fade away and that the one thing that really matters is our relationship with God.

  • Dani Spiliotis

    Hmm. What a beautiful song. This song struck me hard, and truly challenged my heart. This past weekend I was given the opportunity to lead worship for our basketball team retreat. I pulled out a mix of songs, but the one in particular that ministered to me in a deep way was “Heart of Worship”. After that, and after listening to this song by jimmy, I was reminded of a couple key things. Firstly,God looks at the heart. We can be the most talented musician or worship leader on the face of the planet, BUT if our heart is not right before our king, it is not true worship. If it is not true worship, what are we saying about God? That He isn’t the center of it all? That He alone does not deserve our praise? Second, worship is a way of life. It is an intentional way of living because it is so easy to become unfocused. It’s when we take our eyes off Christ that we slip and fall and make idols of other things around us. This was an awesome video to post, really challenging!