excessive or blind adoration,
reverence, or devotion
I’m not sure the transition from ingratitude to idolatry needs too much fleshing out. What happens to me when I become consumed by what I don’t have, to the degree that I’m no longer grateful for what God has placed in my life? It’s really not complicated. I find that before long, determined to look after myself, I begin clearing a path to the thing I mean to have. My happiness, defined by me, driven by my desires, laid out according to my timetable. That is self-worship and that is idolatry.
I can be an expert in justifying, in re-writing God’s law, in deflecting so that I blame someone else for my shifting priorities. In many cases, God is often the object of my contempt, something I’m usually not honest enough to admit. Really though, the part I never want to own is that I, in my autonomy, make a brazen statement about my lack of trust in God and my waning belief in His goodness. I doubt I need to elaborate.
Idolatry shows up in my self-oriented behavior. I become less willing to invest in others. God-worship is progressively replaced by a preoccupation with self. I spend my best energy shuffling and contriving to get things to align as I think they ought to. By this point, I’ve traveled a good way down the road marked SELF. What I may be unaware of is the looming danger ahead.
Like ingratitude, idolatry unchecked will morph into something very formidable. It’s difficult for a person consumed with self to pause and take stock of their life. But if they would, they would find the Father willing and eager to assist in the de-throning of self, and the re-establishment of Jesus as the object of their worship and true devotion.
Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.