During high school, I dated a young woman whose parents had immigrated to the United States from Vietnam. The first time I visited their home I was surprised to see a shrine in their living room. It is easy for Western Christians to skim by Bible passages forbidding the worship of false gods because we believe that simply couldn’t be true of us.
However, Jesus makes clear that the most important commandment is to love God with the totality of our being (Matt. 22:36–40). Anything less than this breaks the first of the Ten Commandments—to have no god before the Lord (Ex. 20:3)— and also Jesus’ summation of the commandments. Idolatry, then, occurs when we put anything other than God in the place of God.
Social media and money are two clear examples of things we sometimes worship other than the Lord. How often do we think our security is in our paycheck, our bank account, or our retirement funds? Those things are all fine and good, but they present an enormous temptation to trust in money rather than the Lord for our future and that of our children. Should God provide for us in this way, we have to thank Him. However, we must also remember our Lord’s warning: “Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort” (Luke 6:24).
As financial stability threatens our full trust in the Lord for the present and future, social media tempts us to find fulfillment in the form of likes, shares, and retweets. The desire to please humans is strong, and social media has given modern-day humans access to approval from others like never before. Rather than seek approval and contentment from others, though, the Bible is clear that these come only from God Himself. To look for it anywhere else is idolatrous.
>> Reflect today on where you put your hope, security, and value. While we might not have an altar to a false god in our homes, we can sometimes put our trust in things other than God.
Whether our trust wrongly lies in our resources, our own competence, or our families, forgive us, Lord. You alone are unfailingly dependable; You alone have the wisdom and power to always come through.