Everyone is designed with an instinct to worship and to be reverent, but the object of your worship and reverence is up to you. Many people are not necessarily conscious of this. They adopt whatever belief system was passed down to them and never make informed decisions about what they worship. Or, others may not have any kind of organized belief system, and turn the center of their worship to something they simply enjoy or value tremendously. The more conscious you are of what it is that you worship, the better off you are.
Those who worship something in an organized, conscious and deliberate fashion are usually religious. This does not mean that all religious people have a healthy practice of worship. Obviously, some religious people do not exercise any real intelligence or spirituality in their religion. What this means is that the most conscious form of worship takes place in either a religious or deeply spiritual context because it is the type of worship that require the most thought and understanding.
Then there are those who worship in a loosely focused way. They worship what they are passionate about, or what they derive a sense of reverence from, such as nature or art. These things inspire feelings of spirituality within them. They have not necessarily organized their thoughts on why they are moved to a sense of spirituality, they simply know that they have reverence toward something, so it becomes the object of their worship, meaning they devote their time, money, thoughts and energy into it.
And lastly, there are those who are grossly misplacing their sense of worship by focusing it on something unworthy of worship, such as an addictive substance or process. This often has more to do with not thinking carefully than it does making defiant decisions. Everyone has things they crave and struggle to personally moderate, but when the object of addiction becomes a person’s object of worship, it is best they rethink their priorities right away.
Whether or not you believe in God, you must be aware of what you treat like God. Everyone worships something because it is our human nature to do so. What is it that you worship? People who struggle with addiction have their answer already. Addiction replaces the role that God is meant to fill in a person’s life. People serve, focus on, crave and become emotional over their addiction. Consider what God is meant to be to us. We are meant to serve Him, focus on Him, crave His presence and be emotionally invested into Him. Addiction stands in they way of this all too important relationship.
When you are addicted, you serve your addiction with your entire life. Everything about the way you live is a testament to how much you love your addiction. You arrange your time around it, you budget your money for it, you bring it into conversations with your friends and family and you dream away about it when you do not have access to it. Your life is meant to revolve around your Creator in order to be healthy, but instead, it revolves around addiction, which makes you unhealthy.
When you are addicted, the object of your addiction is your focus. God is meant to be your ultimate focus, and in order to serve him well, you are meant to lend your focus where it is required, for instance, to your life’s purpose, your health, your relationships and your spirituality. When addiction is your life’s focus, all of our priorities are skewed. The way you look at your life and the world are toxic. You are in the habit of devaluing things that matter deeply to your life, and overvaluing things that are unimportant in their place.
When you are addicted, your cravings are uncontrollable and are constantly sucking up all your energy. When you crave God, you are seeking him, which is the most natural spiritual state to be in. Heavily craving anything but God is dangerous to your soul. So is becoming emotional about your addiction. Your emotional faculties are unhealthy if your addiction is what moves you to emotion. Making God the center of your emotional life will ensure that your emotion is always focused where it should be.
The idea of worshiping a golden idol is from biblical times, but the practice of it is still alive and well. What could better define the worship of false idols than addiction? In the bible, the term “golden idol” is used to mean anything we put above God in our lives. The Egyptians, Neo-Babylonians and other nations would erect golden statues to represent their gods, and it was often a crime not to bow before them. Worship of these false gods instead of the one true God would lead to personal demise, according to the bible.
In the present time, false idol worship is an old adage, and quite correctly represents everything that addiction is. It does not refer to a mere fondness for something unworthy of praise, it refers to a reverential worship of something unworthy of worship. Addiction drives a person to crave something so strongly that they are willing to serve it with their whole person in order to have access to it. For example, in cases of severe alcoholism, alcoholics will frequently organize their time, energy and money around alcohol. They are always sure to have funds for alcohol. They plan their days around drinking and will frequently avoid events that will inhibit their plans to drink. If anything unpredictable or stressful happens, they feel an overwhelming need to comfort themselves with alcohol. If drinking begins to harm their relationships, they will concoct elaborate schemes to hide their drinking from view of the people in their lives. Imagine, this incredible amount of thought and energy expended on serving a substance instead of the Creator of the Universe. This is the very epitome of worshiping a golden idol.
Though this phrase is commonly used with a severe connotation, conjuring up images of fire and brimstone as punishment for worship of a false idol, it is interpreted differently in modern times. The merciful and selfless life of Christ shows us that God does not desire punishment for us, but rather health, hope, joy and prosperity. God created us to worship him and to find fulfillment in him, so when we turn from him and place our adoration on something else, we are essentially doing something that is unnatural and toxic to ourselves. God does not want to condemn us, he wants to redeem us. He warns us to rebuke false idols – money, fame, glory, sex, drugs, alcohol – so that we will not become lost and fall into despair, but instead become rich in the spirit and pure of heart so that we may receive everlasting life in paradise with Him.
If you are ready to let go of your false idols and move on from your addiction, do not do it alone. Christian alcohol rehabilitation services and other addiction treatment options are available to help you remember the truth of God’s love for you and to help you through your recovery remembering your identity in Christ.