While famous pastor and theologian John Calvin is attributed with the quote, “man’s nature is a perpetual factory of idols,” I personally know that this is a very true statement. And, I am learning that idolatry can rear it’s ugly head in many ways, leading to breaking multiple commandments, the first three in particular (Exodus 20:2-7). I will go into further explanation regarding this, however, not in this post. This post is intended to be relatively short.
Idolatry can appear in such things that one would think relatively harmless, even in such things that you are intending to use to glorify God!
In my case, it has come in the form of my FitBit Charge 2.
It’s a wonderful little fitness/smart watch thing that I use to tell the date, time, step count, and other things that I am doing, all to glorify God in making my body, where the Holy Spirit dwells in me, healthier and stronger in a physical manner. Now, how does this little thing lead to idolatry? A few weeks ago, I joined a “Workweek Hustle” step challenge through the FitBit app on my phone. I left after just over 24 hours because I was getting to frustrated…because I’m too competitive and I was losing. Now, I’m not a sore loser, I just don’t like losing because I like winning more(haha!). But, the problem was it was affecting me to a point where it wasn’t good. I took immediate action and stopped. It happened again, when I was in a daily challenge that my wife was in, and I wanted to win. I lost to my wife by just over 100 steps, and this really put a bad start to my next day when I realized I had lost. I was obsessed with the fact that I had lost, and that is something that isn’t healthy. I was spending the night before, when I was supposed to be doing my personal devotions, my quiet time with God, I spent it walking through our home, getting as many steps as I could. I did my quiet time, however, it was not the focus of my night. God was far from the center of my thoughts. My competitiveness, being pushed front and center by my FitBit, lead me to idolatry. For that night, it replaced God in my sinful mine in my sinful life.
God’s Word tells us the following, from Exodus 20:
““I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:2–7, ESV).
I was committing idolatry not because I had a “carved image” of God, but because I put the God of self, as seen in my FitBit and competitiveness, before God, the King of Kings, the LORD my God who brought me out of the house of slavery.
Be careful, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Be careful and guard your hearts.