Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain….;And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (Matt. 4:8-9 KJV)
An idol in elementary terms is anything that takes the place of God in our lives. One of the ways in which idolatry manifest itself is in our worship. God alone is to be worshipped, and anything that demands our worship or that we give our worship to is an idol in our lives. We are familiar with the idols made of stones, sticks, gold etc in the Old Testament.
However, in our verse above, we see a different kind of idol. The Devil is asking Jesus to worship him. In Acts 12:21-23, King Herod was stroke and killed by an angel for accepting worship from the people as a god.
An interesting scenario is giving to us in Acts 10:25-26: “And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man”. Cornelius wanted to worship Peter. The Apostle immediately rejected it. This is the strange form of idolatry making its way into Church. It is not idols of sticks and stones. It is not Satan or an ungodly king. It is the believers idolizing ministers who are becoming spiritual idols in the hearts of many believers. And this is so subtle that it is sometimes mistaken for reverence or respect for the anointing.
Did you notice that God did not punish Cornelius for trying to worship Peter? Why? He was ignorant. Peter’s response to the worship of Cornelius made all the difference and is the reason why there was no spiritual scene about this potential error. Sadly, some ministers fail to correct this fatal error from the believers and receive the glory that is due to God alone. And it is one of those sins that might not be obvious to the common eye but is a terrible spiritual sin in the eyes of God.
Believers, ministers are simply what they are—ministers or servants. We must not make our ministers fall into pride. As ministers, we must not take God’s place in the hearts of the believers in the name of “respect or reverence.”It is a dangerous trend that is increasing in the Church.
Can you think of another Apostle that faced the same dilemma of worship from the believers like Peter? See Acts 14:11-15. What was the minister’s response?
APPLY THE WORD
I attended a conference long ago in my home nation and saw how young ministers were being elevated so high in the name of protocol and respect that I cringed in my chair. I thought “If they accept this when they have not yet started, what would they do if the miraculous is fully operating in their ministry”? Do you see how we can kill the anointing in the lives of our ministers without realizing it? God has commanded us to honor and respect His anointed. We need the wisdom to know when we are crossing from honor to worship. Be careful child of God. Be careful minister of the gospel.
Ask the Lord to help us all by giving us the wisdom to know the difference between an appropriate honor and respect for God’s ministers and disguising idolatrous worship.