In Mexico, we are surrounded by people who are very religious. Even though many no longer attend services at a church, most hold very tightly to the things they have been taught. It is not uncommon to hear people talking about God, and phrases like "God bless you," "If God wills," and "Thank God!" are heard on a daily basis. So when Uriah began to ask things like, "Why doesn't Emmanuel's mom let him play with me anymore?" I had to explain that some people feel afraid because we believe differently than they do. "But, Mom," he said, "They talk about God too." I told him that what he said was true, that in fact, we believe in a lot of the same things. The biggest difference is that we only worship God, and they worship many different idols. After that ensued a conversation about why other people worship statues and dolls instead of the one true God. I explained it all as well as I could, wanting him to understand why we are in Mexico and why we work with the people we do. His understanding of the subject was summed up in his declaration, "Oh! They worship idols!" That led to another conversation...which in turn led to a heart examination.
Although we most often think of idols as being statues that people worship, there are other things in our lives that are or can become idols. Idols are anyone and anything that we give more importance to than the Maker of Heaven and earth. Idols can be anything that we worship by giving our time, attention, our love and our trust. Anytime that we substitute God with something or someone else, we open the door to idolotry in our heart. We may not bow down to or even sing to a doll or a statue, but if we are putting our faith in something else or looking for comfort, hope, or love in other places, we begin to give our worship to things that are not worthy. We begin to replace God with other gods...we replace the Eternal One who holds everything for weak imitations that only seem to fulfill temporal needs. No matter who we are or where we are, routine heart check-ups are good things. Even when we think we are following God wholeheartedly, there can be subtle things that creep into our lives and interfere with our relationship with God and the worship that only He is worthy of. Just as a computer virus can sneak into a system and destroy it little by little, there are things that come into our lives, sometimes unnoticed, yet if they are left there, they begin to grow and harm our reltionship with our Savior.
Now, when Uriah sees a parade in the street with people singing to a statue, or when he sees a friend in town that turns his head without saying "hi", he says, "It's because they worship idols." Everytime he says it we have a chat...and do a heart check-up...to make sure the "they" is they and not we. To make sure that we are giving our worship to the Only One who is worthy.