Wednesday, February 10, 2010

American Idols

In my reading time this morning I read a passage that I have read many times before, but a particular verse resonated with me and caused me to ask a tough question. The verse is from Acts 17:16 where Paul is in Athens and he is about to give his infamous address to the Areopagus. Scripture says:

"Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols."

When I read this I just paused and thought to myself, "does it bother me the way it bothered Paul that people in my city and culture are immersed in idol worship?" Sure we don't have as many physical idols (images and statues intended to serve as gods), but we have idols everywhere. For some, the big football stadium is an idol. It's where we go worship our heroes. For others, the big house is an idol. Still others are more subtle. There idol is how they look or status at work or a title. An idol is anything that we put before the One true God in our lives.

So back to my original question I asked of myself: does it bother you that idol worship is alive and well around you? My guess is that we have grown so use to it that we don't even recognize it or deem it as a big deal. For Paul, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw the city was full of idols. He understood what they were costing themselves. He understood how desperate they were to worship, but they worshipped things less than God.

Pray today and ask God to open your eyes to the idols around you, maybe even in your life. Pray that God would stir your heart to compassion and mission to those you see entrenched in idol worship. Ask God to reveal Himself and make Himself known to those who are worshipping things less than the Real Thing. Ask Him to break your heart for the same thing that broke Paul's.


  1. great post, bro. This is something that the worship team and I are really investigating. We have been in a conversation for a couple weeks now about how we make idols out of the things in our lives and how that affects our worship throughout the week, but especially on Sundays, when we're charged with leading our church into worship. Great thoughts. Just really reminds me of how much I want us to do a teaching series on worship, or at least a Sunday on it.

  2. I think as a worship team, you guys definitely have a responsibility to help people deal with and think through this issue. As leaders we have to grow discontent with idolatry in the lives of those around us. We need to see and call it.

  3. Idols,,whew, what a topic. Israel seemed to always be on the firing line of having to repent and move its eyes on to God's presence. In today's world, idols can take the form of anything. I am grateful for the Holy Spirit's move upon the hearts and minds of His people. Because without that influence many of us would stay in front our idols and miss all that God has for us.