Worshipping the Creator over the Created

April 3
1 John 2:15–17

Do not love the world or the things in the world.
Illustration by Gustave Doré

Illustration by Gustave Doré

From the moment sin pervaded our world, every human has fought the seemingly instinctive pull toward idolatry. Yes, we may not build wooden images or metal statues and bow down and offer homage to them. Yet we still long for idols. Because of sin we are allured to worship the created rather than the Creator. This is exactly what John means when he writes, “Do not love the world or the things in the world.” He goes on to say, “ For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:16). The desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and the pride of life are all elements that lead us to idolatry. Ultimately the sin of idolatry lies at the root of almost every sin. We simply are not satisfied with God himself; we want to worship everything he has created. Again, the problem is not with what God has created. God desires for us to use and steward his creation. The problem is with sin. Our sin propels us to worship the created rather than the Creator.

Lent is a time when we recognize our sin and turn away from it. Do you love the world and the things in the world more than you love God? Have you turned toward worshipping the created over the Creator? For many of us, this is not an easy question to answer. On the surface, we would say, “Of course I don’t worship stuff.” But check your heart. Where is your joy found? When do you feel most fulfilled? Is it when you’re focused on the Lord or focused on your possessions, relationships, career, etc? Remember, idolatry can be subtle. It is only when we thoroughly search our hearts that we find the sin that is deep within. It is only then that we can begin to tear down the idols we have built in our hearts.

Reflection

  1. Think about your actions. Do you have any actions in your life right now that are sinful or out of the ordinary for you? What are they trying to tell you?
  2. Now search your heart? What might be some idols you have in your life that you need to destroy?
  3. How can Jesus satisfy the needs you have that your idols were trying to satisfy?