The greatest form of idolatry today is not that people will bow down to a statue but that people will cling to someone or something other than the one true God. (As I’ve noted in an earlier post, even atheists have a god: whatever they trust.)
True faith teaches a singularity of heart, to have one’s confession of faith, one’s life, and one’s actions focused upon and giving honor to The One. Because our lives are so hectic, it becomes more and more difficult to have this singularity of heart. Mere busyness delivers us from idleness but pushes us toward idolatry as we struggle to meet all our commitments. The One—the true God—becomes for us a face in the crowd rather than the object of our devotion, set apart and consecrated above all things.
In the end, true faith calls for more than a different belief but a different way of life that expresses that belief. Life with God and living for God go hand in hand. We see this most clearly in the person and work of Jesus. The balance in His life is truly remarkable. He had great gifts of teaching and healing so that crowds sought Him and huddled about Him, to the point where He was jostled and pushed and overwhelmed by them. Mark 1 records:
That evening at sundown they brought to [Jesus] all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”
Even when everyone around Jesus demanded His attention—and deservedly so—He slipped away to pray to His Father, to commune with Him but also to intercede for His disciples and those who came to Him with all their needs. This singularity of heart, focused on the Lord and His calling, helped Jesus with the day to day struggles as well as His ultimate commitment: His calling from the Father. As a man, Jesus was overrun with demands yet He remained singularly devoted to His Father and entrusted all His cares and burdens to the Father for the sake of those who would listen to Him.