Jeff Lawrence

6 Ways We Practice Idolatry in Worship

I don’t know about you, but I’ve become a little worn by the constant blogs and articles on every possible worship subject under the sun.  From “Bring back the hymns because they’re more Godly than that other stuff”, to “The 8 reasons men don’t sing in church”, to “Why millennials are leaving our churches in droves”.  I mean, seriously, every time I look at my news feed, there’s another one.  Or better yet, the recycled blogs that boomerang around the internet as drive-by fruitings.

These things get shared to fuel whatever case is being made.  Oh, how tiring to see the Church still bickering and fighting about stuff that just simply doesn’t matter.

And why doesn’t it matter?  Well – how about we start with this: IT”S NOT ABOUT YOU! (or me for that case).  Every single one of these blogs is built on me, us, and what we want.  They’re built on preferences and traditions or opinions of what we think or should think.  We’re spending a whole lot of energy and effort trying to convince each other that my way is better than yours.  Social Media has become the platform for virtual tattletales to leverage influence to argue petty and vain sentiments.  It’s almost like children playing with toys, misusing them and forging them into weapons.  What in the world is wrong with us?  Seriously?

So what do I do?  Join the fray and write one of those blogs (Lord forgive me).  If you can’t beat them, join them.  So I do it with this one premise: anything we place before God is idolatry.  Right?  Can we agree on that?  If there are any gods (little “g” gods) in our lives above the one true God – we have become pagans.  A few little nuggets of scripture to take us along that path: Exodus 20:3-6, Colossians 3:5, Galatians 5:19-21, 4:8, 1 Corinthians 6:9 10:20-22.  The scriptures are replete with this truth: God does NOT share the stage with anything or anyone.  He is not in competition to get our attention.  He is either Lord of all or not at all.

With this premise in mind, I believe idolatry has slithered into the Church.  Slowly, strategically it has permeated our practices and lulled us into a belief system completely outside of God’s Word!  As I continue, nothing below will be valuable unless it is founded on scriptural principles and precepts.

Here are 6 ways we exercise idolatry in worship:

  1. The Idolatry of Self!  We come to worship looking to receive.  We come with expectations.  We come with a general if not overt mindset that this church is here to serve me, give me what I want when I want it.  You better sing my songs, the way I want them sung.  You better dress in a way I deem appropriate and my seat better be comfortable and the restrooms clean.  Don’t you dare get my parking place or my seat.  That Preacher/Pastor/Teacher better keep my interest and FEED ME!  If I’m not getting FED, I will let you know on my way out the door.  Whether we know it or not, our motivation has become me.  My opinions are truth and my experiences are primary above all.
  2. The Idolatry of Music!
  3. Music is the thing that moves you and motivates you.  The song slowly has become more important than the savior.  Our heart for worship is not kindled until the band starts playing and the lights are lowered.  I can’t find my way to worship unless my favorite worship pastor is on the stage with his amazing voice.  I have high expectations to sing the latest and greatest songs I hear on the radio.  Or, I long to sing the old hymns with great organ accompaniment.  Without the music being right, I’m not right.  I can’t worship with “that” person leading or if you knew the lifestyle of that worship team person, you would not be able to worship.  Please, I’m a guy and I can’t show my emotions, so stop being so touchy-feely.  And, could you please lower the key?
  4. The Idolatry of Us!

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