A Technological Idol
We are created to worship; therefore, we will worship something. Until the fall, we worshiped God as he deserves. But after the fall, and our rejection of God, we were faced with a dire choice: “Who will we worship? What will we worship?”
First, let us get on an equal playing field in regards to the definition of “worship.” Worship is more than just the songs played at weekend services or on the radio. The following two definitions provide a pretty solid basis for an adequate understanding of worship.
“Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is, and what He has done; expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.” - Louie Giglio
“Worship is what we were created for. This is the final end of all existence - the worship of God. God created the universe so that it would display the worth of his glory. And he created us so that we would see this glory and reflect it by knowing and loving it - with all our heart and soul and mind and strength.” - John Piper
In 2018, we are faced with a particularly dangerous idol, an idol that craves the worship that is only properly due to God: technology. We now live in a society where almost everything we do involves some sort of technology. From banking, to ordering take out, to communicating with loved ones, everything we do is rooted in technology. We can hold the answer to most questions in the palm or our hand. It also provides us endless opportunities to exchange our worship of God for one of the millions of apps, games, or virtual communities.
You don’t have to search too hard to find well-meaning folks warning us of the dangers of social media or technology. Lives have been lost to drivers and walkers not paying attention to the road, wrapped up in their phone call or text message. Our kids are hooked on games on our phones and tablets because they see us hooked on them. We can get lost in an endless torrent of arguments between Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, Christians and atheists, even rival sports teams, one side or the other, and lose our sense of community as the brotherhood of man because our “neighbor” does not agree with our point of view. All of this because we long to matter, to be accepted.
We measure our self-worth and acceptance on the number of people we can influence on social media -- on who has liked us, who gave us a ditto in a retweet or repost, who chooses to follow us or commented their approval of our opinions. Technology becomes our idol when we care more about what our phone says other people say about us more than we care about what the Lord has said about us, when we care more about getting content out than we do getting with the Lord. When we can’t miss a post, but we can skip a prayer, technology may have become an idol.
Choose This Day, Choose Every Day
The Israelites struggled because the God they were called to worship wasn’t tangible, and in the middle of the wilderness, they wanted something more tangible. So throughout their history as a nation, they created idols, physical things they could touch, and made them their object of worship. We’re no different. We say we trust the Lord with our mouths, but our hands often reach for our electronic devices before they clasp together in prayer, because we long for something more tangible.
Think about what Joshua said to the Israelites in chapter 24 of Joshua:
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-15).
And consider Christ’s words in the gospel of Matthew:
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and pick up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?’” (Matthew 16:24-26).
Choose this day, and every day, whom you will serve. Until Jesus returns to bring us into full time worship and all of these distractions and idols fade away, we must choose every day who we will serve. This is what the Lord wants from those of us who long to know him and know how much we truly matter beyond likes and comments and worldly influence. If you want to run after Christ, deny yourself. What will it profit you if you gain all of the likes and followers and “friends” and acclaim of the world because of the opinions you shared, and yet lose your soul? Would you rather have that than Jesus?
Think about that, and choose today, whom you will serve.