Idolatry is something that most of us don’t think we do. I remember blogging about a sermon that Tim Keller preached on the subject. Most people give themselves a pass because often they can’t tangibly identify what that idol would be. We don’t worship, here in America, wood or stone statues. We don’t worship the sun or the stars, or the forest (well some may). Often times we do worship self and as a society can be quite narcissistic. And that the late G.K. Chesterton would say would be most horrible of anything else we could worship.
Of all horrible religions the most horrible is the worship of the god within… That Jones shall worship the god within him turns out ultimately to mean that Jones shall worship Jones… Christianity came into the world firstly to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain.
– G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy (pg. 115)
I think it is common to so put faith in our own ability, our own self-reliance, that we slip into this form of idolatry. We can pull ourselves up with our own boot straps. We would do well to remember the words of Jesus who said:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing, (John 15:5, ESV).
Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. He is the One in whom we live and move and have our being, (Acts 17:28). He is the one who even sustains the very universe in which we tread, (Colossians 1:17). And we also must realize when we place our faith in our own reason that it too is misplaced faith.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts,” (Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV)
But yet in pride in our culture we believe that we know better. We claim superior knowledge. We have absolute confidence that we know best, but in reality we know very little. The only thing we are is supremely arrogant when we should be absolutely humbled. The only proper response when we find ourselves engaging in such a horrible religion is to repent.