On the heels of Hannah Montana's (aka Miley Cyrus) VMA performance, it seemed timely and quite appropriate for me to blog about something I've been wanting to write about for some time now...IDOLATRY.
Honestly, I feel a little sorry for Miss Cyrus.
It seems as though all of the sudden our society grew a conscience. Apparently the countless women before her who paraded about on stage scantily clad, sexually gyrating in the name of "dance," and setting a wretched example to the children and teenagers in our country have been forgotten. Am I right? Hers is hardly the first "shocking" musical performance of her kind.
I'll admit. It is nice to hear that other people found her artistic expression rather crude and horrifying. But for me, it honestly wasn't too shocking. Mostly because to be on top in Hollywood these days, with a lucrative idol-like status, one has to get publicity (good or bad). And getting publicity so often requires a scandal. So whether or not that was her intension, her publicist is likely thrilled. In some form or fashion, she (along with her publicist) WILL bank on all this new attention, regardless of its negative undertone.
In my opinion, the real lesson to be learned in all this is one about idolatry.
A Biblical definition of idolatry is the obessession with and worship of anything or anyone other than The God of this universe.
Our culture's obsession with celebrities like Miley Cyrus is complete idolatry.
Back in Ancient Israel, Old Testament times, idolatry presented itself in the form of images and falsegods like The Golden Calf (Exodus 32), Baals (1 Samuel 7:4), and Asherah poles (1 Kings 14:15).
Most important, these idols were false and powerless:
Psalm 135: 15-18
"The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them."
Modern day idolatry may not look the same as Old Testament idolatry. Most of us aren't building a golden calf and bowing down to it. But we DO worship powerless and false people and things who and which are incapable of granting us peace, salvation, and love.
Here are just a few examples of modern day idolatry:
Self-Centerdness: The worship of self through materialism, vanity, and aggrandizing our success.
Money: Obsession with having more and more of it, often driven by a spirit of entitlement and a lust for power.
Glory/Fame: An almost desperate desire to be on top; an obession with being recognized first, even above others; hungry for the credit; simply looking to outshine everybody else.
Gluttony: Wanting, even demanding, more than we need coupled with a willingness to do whatever necessary to acquire it.
Entertainment: Giving our precious time to whatever and whomever will drown out our sorrows and boredom; satisfy our lustful hunger for sex, violence, and vanity; and distract us from personal failures and moral indiscretions.
Celebrities: In my opinion, this is our closest comparison to OT idolatry. Beautiful people adorned with jewels and everything named brand are admired, emulated, and worshipped. Some practically bow down to these celebrities as though they were a god. We offer both time & money "sacrifices" by purchasing their products & obsessing over their talents. We forego our own opinions and selves by buying what they buy, wearing what they wear, saying what they say, acting like they act, and believing what they believe.
To a certain degree, we are all guilty of modern day idolatry. There really is no question about that.
The question that we need to ask ourselves is this: Do we love Jesus?
If the answer is yes, then our heart's desire should be to worship Him and Him alone.
We cannot serve two masters. (Matthew 6:24)
Jonah 2:8-9 says this,
"Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But, I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD."
No idol or form of idolatry can ever grant us true salvation.
We miss out on the grace and goodness that God has to offer when we settle for and sacrifice to modern day idolatry.
Loyal worship requires that our hearts and minds be first, and foremost, centered on God. Jesus taught that the greatest commandment is to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37)
So when we love the Lord with everything that is in us, there will be no room in our hearts for idolatry.
THIS is what I want for my children.
I want their hearts to be so crazy in love with Jesus that they leave no room for idolatry to settle in and wreak havoc in their lives.
So...time to pray!
You are a jealous God who does not tolerate idolatry. You have no desire to share us with anything or anyone else. And rightly so because Your love abounds deeper and resounds truer than any other generic version of love. You are great and none can compare to You.
I pray for my children. May they "flee from idolatry!" (1 Corinthians 10:14). May they do all that is necessary to "keep themselves from idols." (1 John 5:21). May they never forfeit the grace that is theirs in Christ Jesus by worshipping falsegods. Keep them from the poisionous grip modern day idolatry has on the hearts and minds of those who bow to it and worship. May they see those idols for what they are: Fake & Powerless.
I pray they would love You first, above all things.