Worry is Idolatry

Have you ever considered worry to be an idol in your life? I imagine few people have thought this! Worry seems to be a part of most everyone's lives these days, with the economy being so terrible and so many future's being uncertain. Isn't it normal and expected that we are worried about troublesome things?

Jesus, who is the Wonderful Counselor, tells us that as Christians we have no reason or right to be worried.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."   Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

This passage is dealing with worldly things, which happen to be the things we work all our our lives to get. Our homes and their contents, our cars, our jewelry, and other possessions. These would be the treasures Jesus speaks of and are the things many of our worries are made of. Other treasures might be good health, a happy marriage, good relationships, and peace in the home or heart. Essentially, anything that you long for, seek out, or lust after is a treasure.

We focus our days and our efforts on attaining these things and we come to believe we must have them and if we have them, we must protect them because they are "mine." These things compete with God for our attention. As we focus on the stuff we want the heart becomes deeply involved and we soon form an emotional attachment to them. Once we form a heart level bond with them (based on our desires) we begin to fret and worry that they will be taken away from us. Our goal becomes hanging on to this stuff that we believe is so important. We become captive to the idea of losing it.

To keep from losing our heart's desires we try to manipulate them. Because they demand such a high price from us, there had better be a payoff for us from them. The payoff is a temporary reassurance that we have some control over our stuff. In reality the stuff we idolize controls us. The things you value the most will rule your life. Those "treasures" rule your every move.

What do you treasure most? Is it Christ? If not, then worry will rule your heart as you are living for all the wrong things and doing what you do for all the wrong reasons. A life that is dominated by the idols of the heart does not have a kingdom focus and a consequence of that idolatry is the darkness of chronic worry.

A person who worries finds their thoughts clouded, their focus limited because they are working on preserving their idols. As a result they are ineffective at their daily tasks and responsibilities because the idols are demanding to be worshiped. (The "stuff" must be kept somehow, the peace preserved, the people appeased.) This is a troubling way to live. It is no mistake that Jesus said:

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Matthew 6:24 (NIV)

Money was the representative of anything that we can idolize. You can insert any word in the place of "money" and it applies. Pay attention to the idea that the masters are in competition with each other! Masters demand allegiance and you cannot be loyal to two masters at the same time.

The things you worry about are revealing the idols of your heart.