In Our Own Image

by Greg Laurie on Sep 23, 2023
Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.
—Romans 1:21

There is something wrong in our lives when we need an image or an icon to worship God. We must understand that God forbids this (see Exodus 20:3–5). He doesn’t want us to relate to Him that way.

We must also understand that sometimes people can become idols in our lives. Maybe someone was instrumental in bringing us to Christ or we have great admiration for a certain pastor or leader. But is that person becoming an idol? Are they taking the place of God in our lives?

Of course, God will use people to impact us spiritually. But every person will, at some point, fail to measure up to all the expectations we have. And because we sometimes make idols out of others, our faith is shattered when we discover they are human like we are.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus talked about seed that grew up quickly. But because it had no root, it quickly withered (see Mark 4:16–17). This represents people who don’t get a good foundation spiritually. They don’t build their faith on Jesus Christ and His Word.

Something or someone became an idol in their lives, and that idol failed to measure up to their ideal. So they give up, because the foundation they built on was faulty. We need to build our foundation on Jesus Christ.

Idols also can be ourselves. Romans 1:21 tells us, “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused” (NLT).

The first creature that people substitute for God is themselves. Ultimately, all idolatry comes down to people worshipping themselves. They want to be in control.

Humanity is incurably religious. There is something in us that wants to worship, but if we can make a god in our image and thus call our own shots, then we are happy. That’s because, for all practical purposes, we have formed a god in our own image. We have put ourselves in the place of the one true God.

Idolatry can be living for our senses and appetites as well. The apostle Paul wrote, “There are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth” (Philippians 3:18–19 NLT).

Jesus also warned about pursuing empty lifestyles. He asked, “Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25 NLT). For many people, the answer is no.

Is there one thing that you would absolutely refuse to give up if God were to ask it of you? Is there one thing that would cause you to say, “Take anything but this, Lord”? If so, then that thing, that pursuit, that passion just may be an idol in your life.

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