"Cursed is anyone who makes an idol--a thing detestable to the Lord, the work of skilled hands--and sets it up in secret." Then all the people shall say, "Amen!"
-- Deuteronomy 27:15
The saying goes that there are no atheists on the battlefield.
Maybe there's a grain of truth in that. And maybe a whole lot more. After all, is there really such a thing as a full-fledged atheist--someone who doesn't worship any god? We all worship something...in one way or another. God has even hard-coded this intense longing into our very DNA.
Christ-followers worship the true God revealed and proven through the Bible. Other religions promote false gods, ancestor worship and even the reverence of living things or nature (worshiping the creation rather than the Creator). And let's not forget today's popular teachings such as New Age, Scientology and Kabbalah. It's a very long list.
Even those who claim to be die-hard atheists are in a way pious worshipers. True, they may not be regular churchgoers and proclaim Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. But they--like everyone--bow down to their favorite idols. Some worship money, luxury and pleasure, while others emulate intellect and higher learning. And still others kneel at the altar of more negative gods such as alcohol, drugs and illicit relationships.
So maybe there are no real atheists on the battlefield. But there is real spiritual warfare that rages nonstop within everyone. It pits the God of the Bible against the gods and idols of this world. And it's our hearts and souls that are the prize of this eternal conflict.
We may not literally kneel and worship before a golden idol in some faraway pagan temple. But we still secretly (or maybe not-so-secretly) cherish our own personal gods. Think about the things you worry about or sacrifice your time and money for. What are the issues that make you angry? What brings you the most joy? And here's a revealing question: Whose attention and applause do you most crave?
If the answers to these questions don't involve God, you might be worshiping an idol. And idols can be difficult to recognize through the smoke and confusion of the battlefield. After all, they're experts at camouflage. Sometimes an idol is as close as the bathroom mirror. And even apparently good things--like a career or a hobby--can evolve into "god things."
With all of this in perspective, let's remember that our Father refuses to share His glory with impostors or cheap idols. We must therefore take a close look at the God (or gods) in our lives...and then choose the only One worth serving and living for.