I’m writing this as I watch this year’s American Idol finale. I was a huge fan of the show when I was younger, but I haven’t watched it for the last few seasons. This year, one of the contestants comes from my area, so it’s been a BIG deal around here. Each night on the news, American Idol takes center stage with performance recaps and updates about local events corresponding with the show. Some churches hosted “idol parties” each week, which were broadcasted live on the news after American Idol. The idea of a church hosting an “idol party” seems a bit ironic, no? Each night, the live broadcast would show a room full of people screaming at the top of their lungs as if their lives depended on it, cheering on this contestant from their hometown. I couldn’t help but wonder if these people got this excited for worship on Sunday morning. Now, I’m all for people supporting a local, talented, deserving individual. But what happens when that excitement overshadows the excitement we have for our God? When does the word “idol” become something more than the name of a TV show?
There isn’t an easy answer to that question. And honestly, this has nothing to do with American Idol and everything to do with the things that fight for our loyalties every single day. These are questions we are meant to wrestle with, and the answers are meant to shape who we are becoming in Christ. God commands us to have no other gods before God [Exodus 20.3], but “before” can also be translated as “besides.” It seems like the command to have no gods “before” God could essentially mean that as long as God is FIRST in our lives, whatever is second and third and fourth doesn’t really matter. But if we understand this word as “besides,” the message changes quite a bit, doesn’t it? What does it mean to have no gods besides God? I think this sums it up well: “The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” [Deuteronomy 6.4] We can be sure of two things: First, we ALL have things in our lives that fight for our allegiances. Second, in the moments when we get it right and love God with our WHOLE heart, there won’t be room for anything else!
Pray peace. Make peace. Live peace.