Idolatry: What is idolatry?

Idolatry is defined as image worship or divine honor paid to any created object. The first reference to idolatry is in the account of Rachel stealing her father's images, in Gen. 31:19.  Laban, Rachel’s father, referred to them as his gods, verse 30.  Exodus 20:3, which is one of the Ten Commandments, states, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Idol worship is condemned throughout the Old Testament.

What about those of us who now live under the new covenant?  Is there a danger of idol worship today? If we are talking about some image setting in our home or some object of nature, probably not.  But the New Testament does mention the possibility of idolatry among people today, but in a different form. Paul states in Colossians 3:5 that “covetousness, which is idolatry. Covetousness is one aspect of modern day idolatry. When one’s passion or desire is first and foremost to acquire wealth then wealth becomes his god. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. Anything we put before God becomes our idol. It could be our job, or pleasure such as sports, and the list could go on and on.  It really has a lot to do with selfishness, pleasing one’s self instead of putting God first. But one cannot be a follower of Jesus while putting himself first. Jesus said in Luke 9:23 “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow  me”. The truth is we cannot be a follower of the true and living God, if the gods of work, pleasure or any other thing in our life, will move God out of first place. It is worth putting God first in our lives. In the last part of the verse in Hebrews 11:6, says that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.