I read a quote recently that really got me thinking. It’s from David Foster Wallace, the novelist and writer, and he said this:
In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship…The compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship…is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.
And I think he’s really right especially the last line. That anything else you worship will eat you alive.
The biblical word for this is idolatry. That’s when you place things before God, or in God’s spot. And while we do this sometimes either out of naivety, rebellion, or from a mistake, it never ends up well.
Think about it. Greed is essentially the idolatry of money – and greed will eat you alive. Pride is the idolatry of the self – and pride will eat you alive and any relationship you’re in. Position and recognition is the idolatry of power – and it too will eat you alive if you worship it.
Because the truth is what you worship is what will own and direct you. And with every other single thing we worship other than God, leads us to a place of hurt, difficulty, and pain. Or in the Biblical language – destruction. Or in David Foster Wallace’s language you’ll be “eaten alive”. Chasing after money, pride, power, position, or anything other than God never brings health and freedom.
The trouble with worship and idolatry is that we often don’t realize what we worship until it’s too late. Until we’ve been “eaten alive” – a relationship fails, our identity cracks, or we hit rock bottom. The point is that I think David Foster Wallace is right – everybody worships. The question is what are you worshipping? Is it bringing you health, life, and freedom? Or is it slowly eating away at you? At your hope, meaning, and purpose?