You shall have no other gods. What does this mean? With these words Luther begins his treatment of the Ten Commandments in his Small Catechism. We spent time in the Bible study talking about what it means to fear, love, and trust in God above all things. What I want to focus on is idolatry. There are two different kinds. We’ll consider open idolatry and secret idolatry.
Open idolatry involves happily attending worship at a Buddhist temple or a Mormon ward. This is freedom of religion, but any faith that doesn’t have the Triune God at the center of it is a false religion.
Secret idolatry is very American. This can happen under the banner of any faith including Christianity. The reason for this is because no one has an idol cast in the form of a stack of cash, or a soccer ball, or their child. Secret idolatry simply means that something or someone has taken the number on place in your life. That place is reserved for God alone. This doesn’t mean you need a physical false god to pray at or to. All you need is the willingness to sneak the almighty dollar into the number one place in your life and you’ve become an idol worshiper.
To me the most seductive form of secret idolatry isn’t the one that involves “stuff” or other people. Humanism is the belief that you are you’re own God. Slogans like be all you can be are benign to a point. When a person starts to think that the sun rises and sets on their own goals, wants and dreams, they may have crossed a line into idolatry. God calls us to keep him #1, others #2, and ourselves a very important #3.
Want to hear more? Watch this Sunday’s Bible study, our next lesson in our series: Back to the Basics.
Please click HERE to find the Bible class slides.