“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20:2-5)
The First and Second Commandments define worship in terms of priority and purity. The highest value we have as humans is to offer our praise and worship to the One who made us–God must be our priority. But to worship in the pure, biblical sense we must first ruthlessly eliminate every competitor to God. The Bible calls those competitors “idols”–and our hearts are full of them. I know too well how easy it is to allow my affections and attention to wander from my God and embrace instead a “likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” The price to be paid for the joys of true worship is letting go of whatever idols I’ve allowed to dominate my heart.