New City Catechism 17.2

Question 17: What is idolatry?

Answer: Idolatry is trusting in created things rather than the Creator for our hope and happiness, significance and security.

God has given us many wonderful gifts, and we glorify God when we receive those gifts with thanksgiving and truly enjoy them. Above all people, Christians should delight the most in marriage, children, good food, sunsets, baseball, music, books, movies, and on and on the list goes. May we take the most delight in what God gives us, knowing that every gift is a testimony to his goodness to us.

At the same time, Christians must be those who hold on to God’s gifts with the loosest grip, knowing that nothing in this present age will last, and we must allow nothing to stand as a rival to God for our worship and affection. We love our families, communities, jobs, hobbies, possessions. We are thankful for them. But they do not give meaning to our lives or determine who we are. If we place our hopes in these things, we are looking to them to give us what they simply cannot provide. Only God is worthy of that level of trust. Let us reserve it all for him.

Suggested passage for family or personal reading: 1 Timothy 4:1-5. What kind of teaching does Paul identify here as the “teachings of demons”? What does this passage teach us about God’s gifts and how we should receive them?


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