From the Crossway blog:
“Worship is unavoidable,” explains Darrin Patrick. “Whenever we stop worshiping God, we worship some kind of substitute instead of God.”
The first idolatry: When Adam and Eve willfully placed their trust, significance, identity, security, and future in something other than God. When Paul describes the root of human rebellion, he talks about sin as not just a breaking of the law but rather as an exchange of worship: “[They] exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images.”
Idolatry is: What we put in the place of God that captures our imagination and heart, and then we become servants of our object of worship. Our object of worship will always be the primary influencer of our thoughts, our emotions, our actions, and of course, our lives.
What idols do: They seduce us and draw us into complete intoxication, enslavement, and dependence. They steal the love that should be directed toward God alone. In idolatry we willfully exchange what our hearts should love for a cheap prostitute.
Exposing idols: Patrick proposes some questions that help expose our idols by demonstrating where our ultimate source of trust is:
- What do I worry about most?
- What, if I failed or lost it, would cause me to feel that I did not even want to live?
- What do I use to comfort myself when things go bad or get difficult?
- What do I do to cope? What are my release valves? What do I do to feel better?
- What preoccupies me? What do I daydream about?
- What makes me feel the most self-worth? Of what am I the proud- est? For what do I want to be known?
- What do I lead with in conversations? Early on what do I want to make sure that people know about me?
- What prayer, unanswered, would make me seriously think about turning away from God?
- What do I really want and expect out of life? What would really make me happy?
- What is my hope for the future?
The answers to these questions help identify what a person is truly trusting in, no matter whom they claim to worship. The answers to these questions describe what a person is serving as their functional lord.
Excerpt modified from chapter 12 of Church Planter.