Believe it or not, teenagers have a better idea of what an idol is than what we think. This past Sunday, as we talked about the fall of the Northern Kingdom in The Gospel Project, I asked the question of what is an idol. They gave some good answers as to what they define as an idol (not one them said anything about "American Idol").
I asked them to list what they would considered to be an idol. Once again some really good answers:
Ice Cream or anything related to food
What everyone thought of them
To many teens, these are some of the basic idols that they worship. The conversation turned quite when I expressed, what you worship you become. Read Psalm 115:1-8,
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them.
What we worship, we become. Not many of us think of that. When we worship food, we become useless. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying you should not eat for the rest of your life, but what I am saying is if your worship food, you gain weight and your health will start to decline. Not only that, but you will be miserable for a few minutes after you ate that 7th plate of pizza from Mazzio's.
When we worship anything other than God, we become that thing or person we are worshipping. If we truly worship Jesus, we are declaring His infinite worth throughout the entire world. Jesus is better than any idol you set up as god because Jesus can never be taken away. Jesus cannot be destroyed by fire nor goes out of style like the latest fashion. Jesus does not need to be charged up like an electronic device you have been using for the last five hours.
Youth Pastors, do not feel idolatry is over your students' heads because they are more aware than what the experts give them credit for. Teach them the Bible. Proclaim the gospel. Tell them Jesus is better.