It has been interesting to watch the stories that have dominated the news media over the last few months. God has a way of exposing our idols and showing us that the idols we tend to place above Him eventually will disappoint, and many times lead us away from the things of God. I feel like many news stories lately emphasize this fact. But we rationalize our devotion and ignore the obvious. There are four great American idols that have been exposed recently. May we make sure we are not those who are bowing the knee to false gods.
The god of politics:
This god has been exposed for a long time, but the endless stories of scandal and corruption tend to make us calloused to the fact that many times we simply ignore scandals or get numb to them. It can be easy in a nation like ours to place our trust in “princes and chariots” instead of in the Lord. I have mentioned times in the past when I placed my faith too highly in the political realm. We should constantly be in prayer for those who govern us, knowing that at any time if we really got the leaders we deserve things would be far worse. We don’t put our faith in a political party or a particular leader, but in Christ. And we pray that God would draw our leaders to Himself.
The god of entertainment:
It is probably an understatement to say we condone far more virtual violence and sexual immorality than we do in public. However, now with instant news our violence becomes reality as we watch repeatedly the Las Vegas Massacre, et al., not pausing to think that perhaps we shouldn’t be watching murder before our very eyes. Perhaps that is not the best way to honor man as created in the image of God. Then we have Harvey Weinstein as one of many dominoes of immorality falling among the Hollywood and entertainment elite. We all knew of the casting couch behind the scenes but now the facade is crumbling.
The god of sports:
This god was most recently exposed in the football vs flag controversies in the NFL. The controversy that started over a year ago reached a crescendo at the start of this year’s NFL season when players refused to stand and salute the flag during the national anthem or waited in the locker room until after the national anthem was played. This became the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back and boycotts began with fans and advertisers that continue to this day. The great irony with the NFL is that no one thought to boycott games on Sunday because it was a violation of the Lord’s Day. It seems to me Christians should have been boycotting Sunday games from the very beginning. Feel free to apply to baseball, basketball, etc. as well.
Which brings us to the final god…
The god of patriotism:
Why is this a god? Patriotism can be a very good thing. I happen to love the fourth of July. I praise God for living in the freest country on earth and the freedoms I enjoy. The problem with patriotism is when my devotion to God and country places country on par with God or even above Him. If I view America as God’s favored land and all other nations sub par then I not only demean my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world but I’ve made a god of where I live. We even see this in the “I stand for the flag and bow at the cross” movement. Once I demand that others respect my flag and force another to pledge allegiance or get out, I sound a lot more like a totalitarian dictator from North Korea or China than I do one who understands freedom and much of what America stands for in her best moments. We don’t always live up to those ideals but “forced compliance” is not an American virtue or a Biblical one.
Politics, entertainment, sports, and patriotism can be wonderful things in our lives. I voted recently and will continue to be involved politically. I love a good movie or television show that is well made. I love the game of football. I just can’t watch it on Sunday. I still plan on celebrating on the 4th of July and learning more about the history of our great nation. However, when these things become more important than God or keep me from worship or violate the Law of God, then these idols in my life need to fall by the wayside so that I can follow Christ better. May we seek ways to avoid bowing to the gods of this world.