As the current political races in both the US and the UK have unfolded, I’ve been chewing on something. It’s an issue that seems to be growing, one that believers need to be aware of and do something about.
To explain the current problem and what we can do about it, I need to give some background.
Most of us know that idols are bad things, right? There is a lot about this in the Bible, but it's rooted in the 10 commandments:
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. Exodus 20:3-6
It's a big deal to give in to idols, and we see the nation of Israel time and time again destroyed by their love for them.
The problem for believers is that most of us have idols in our lives that we aren't aware of.
We have fallen into patterns of trusting in things other than God.
It's easy to do; our parents, our friends, and our leaders often model belief in other things. That could be money, military might, even the church or a denomination's way of doing things. I know for some of us, this is not new information, right?
What I've been chewing on, though, is what about the idolatry of entire groups? Groups that we might identify with and be a part of? What do we do about that?
Let's choose one contemporary idol that we can wrap our heads around—one that seems especially pertinent given the current political situation in both the US and the UK.
Faith in Politics
I, like many of my friends in the Church, have been really alarmed by what seems to be the rapid deterioration of Christian values in the mainstream political platforms.
Maybe it's easier for me to see now that I live in the UK rather than the US, but what is becoming increasingly clear is the faith Christians from both the right and the left of the political spectrum put in the political parties.
Don't get me wrong, Christians absolutely need to be active politically, and the more who are called to actually be in office the better! However, what seems clearer and clearer to me is that for many of us, our political party has become an idol. And a big one.
It's an idol when you trust your political party to change your country more than you trust God and the gospel message. It may well be an idol when you spend more time and money invested in the political landscape than the spiritual one.
Do you talk more about your political position than your spiritual one? Many of us seem reluctant to bring up Jesus with people we know, but are more than happy to bring up our political beliefs. We may even be better at lobbying our friends or acquaintances to follow our political leader than our spiritual leader (God).
So how should we respond to political idolatry? What steps can we take to find freedom? Find out in the next post...
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Colin Crawley and his wife C’havala live in London, England. They work with CRM-UK to mobilize the Church and catalyze movements of the gospel.