While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.
Thoughts for Today:History tells us that in the Athens of Paul's time there were over three thousand altars and temples built to different gods. Here in the intellectual capital of the world, the Athenians had created a place to worship whatever their hearts desired. If a person believed in sexual promiscuity then the prostitutes at the temple of Aphrodite would serve every interest; if you needed good fortune for a trip you were planning, perhaps a sacrifice to Hermes was in order; or if you had a warrior-hunter type of mentality then the temple of Zeus was where you would worship. There was something for everyone, and the pastor's heart of Paul was greatly distressed.
I wonder how disturbed Paul might be if he arrived in my town and looked around. We don't call it idol worship anymore; instead we have new modern names and terms, with multiple magazines and clubs for whatever interests and passions we might have. Are you into hunting? There are literally hundreds of publications and organizations dedicated to satisfying your interest in that area. What about sex? Now we're talking about thousands of publications, websites and the like fully committed to not only providing fulfillment to every deviant interest, but also introducing many more unimaginable ones. Whenever we allow a celebrity, an interest, or hobby to become too greatly admired or loved, by definition it becomes our idol. The key is "too greatly." I believe its okay to admire or respect a person's accomplishments or have a keen interest in an activity (one of mine is golf), however we all need to be aware of how quickly an interest can turn into an obsession.
Questions to Ponder:What are you into? A friend of mine recently got involved in fantasy football; now it is all he thinks about; its all he does (watch and read about football); and everyone else (for the most part) is excluded, except the other men in his "league". His interest in football has turned into an obsession. My friend is so consumed with fantasy football that God has taken a back seat in his life.
Whenever you place anything before God it is idol worship. What about you? Is there anything in your life that has become so important to you, that you think about it all the time? Could it be work, a relationship, a hobby or other interest? Are you on the edge of idol worship? How can you bring yourself back into a right relationship with God? Take a step today to bring your life into better balance -- put God first in all things!