I debated whether I was going to address our American sports idolatry this fall. It is such a touchy subject for some. Most do not believe they have a sports idolatry, I mean, after all, sports is not inherently evil, right? Yet, everywhere I go our churches are filled with people who are more passionate about Saturday afternoons than Sunday mornings, or more excited about the opening kickoff than an opening hymn.
If you do not think there is a sport idol in America, watch this commercial:
Before you dismiss any call to evaluate idolatry in your lives, read these articles:
3 Questions to Detect Sports Idolatry
SPORTS IDOLATRY? Has America Made Football Its God?
When Does Sports Become Idolatry?
Worshiping The False God Of Football
Idolatry Season Has Begun
I concluded that I had a sports idolatry a few years ago. I spent too much time watching sports, talking about sports, thinking about sports, arguing about sports. It caused me to dislike some people. I identified myself by what teams I supported. I evaluated myself honestly and found that I was more passionate for my teams than I was for God. I had to remove this idol. Because I identified this idol in my life I can identify it elsewhere.
I debated whether to address our sports idolatry again until I came across this passage in Ezekiel 6:3-7 just this morning:
3 You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD! Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places.
4 Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain before your idols.
5 And I will lay the dead bodies of the people of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones around your altars.
6 Wherever you dwell, the cities shall be waste and the high places ruined, so that your altars will be waste and ruined, your idols broken and destroyed, your incense altars cut down, and your works wiped out.
7 And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the LORD.
Brothers and sisters, idolatry is a serious matter with God. How long will we be like the Church of Corinth, attending sacred assemblies on Sunday and dining with idols the rest of the week? God slew his own people who defiled his temple with idols. Do we think God will not chasten us because “we are under grace?”
“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.”
-I Corinthians 10:14-15
Yes, Church, we do worship idols, most prominently the idol of sports. Let us flee this abomination, and destroy it as thoroughly as King Josiah destroyed the idols in his day when he had the people tear down the idols, burn them with fire, pound them into powder, and spread their ashes. Assuming I was merely spouting my opinion again, someone asked me where the line is drawn between idolatry and appropriate leisure. I responded that I’ve found that as we get closer to God, and know Him in a deeper way, we will know for ourselves where that line is. Knowing God requires us to die to ourselves. Our idols are a false reality. God is the only source of truth. God does not demand we put away our idols for His sake, but for our own. God knows that it is to our detriment that we place our passions on and worship things that are false, on things that cannot give us true meaning and worth. Only in worshipping Him will we find true meaning in our lives.
Judge for yourselves if what I say is the truth.
Let us finally be the Church that worships God exclusively!