Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:5
Normally when we think of idolatry, images of gold or stone or wood come to mind with people bowing down before them. The first command in the Ten Commandments prohibited worshiping other gods and the second command prohibited making an image of any god, including an image of the true God.
But idolatry must not be thought of only as someone praying to a ceramic statue. The roots of idolatry are deep in every heart. John Calvin says, ". . . man's nature . . . is a perpetual factory of idols" (Calvin, Institutes, 1:11:8). We are, by our sinful nature, self-centered, self-seeking, self-absorbed … rather than being absolutely enthralled with the indescribable glories of the Almighty.
Colossians 3:5 (and Eph 5:5) equates covetousness with idolatry. The underpinning of this statement reveals the nature of idolatry. Idolatry can take forms other than religious forms. Idolatry is not just to bow down to a large stone head or to pray to Allah or Krishna. An idolater is a person who has something, or even someone, at the center of his soul which is not God.
Whatever occupies the strongest affection in a person’s heart is at the center. It can be an evil thing like pride or greed or addiction to alcohol. Or it can be a good thing like a spouse or a child or a job. Anything becomes an idol to us if it holds the place deep in our souls which belongs to God alone.
"Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other" (Deut 4:39). Therefore "Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name" (Psa 29:2).