Since I’m from the South, it probably wouldn’t surprise anyone to know that one of my favorite comedians is Jeff Foxworthy. Being from the South himself, Foxworthy has a bit that’s called “You Might be a Redneck,” which is a sort of test designed to help rednecks know whether or not they are actually rednecks or not. One of my personal favorites that he did a while back goes like this: “You might be a redneck if…you’ve ever used a weed-eater indoors.” If that’s the case, I think it’s safe to say that you’re probably a redneck.
Foxworthy does this because he realized that most people who are absolutely rednecks never actually saw themselves as one. And since he’s from the South, and has a stage and a microphone, Foxworthy saw fit to remedy this blatant lack of self-awareness.
When it comes to works of the flesh, I have noticed within myself and others, that there tends to be a blatant lack of self-awareness as to whether or not we’re guilty of certain things, primarily those that are more “nuanced” than others. For example, who’s to say that someone is guilty of “strife” or “jealousy” (Gal. 5:20)? It’s always possible to accuse someone of that, but it just as easily be a misunderstanding, and that possibility is usually enough to keep most from leveling such a claim.
The same is true of idolatry (1 Cor. 10:14; Gal. 5:20). I have yet to meet anyone that has confessed a sin of greed in any capacity; indeed, even in my own life I have convinced myself that I wasn’t, only to admit later that that was precisely the case. No one would ever claim that they love their job or their money or their hobbies more than God, so I came up with a test – in the spirit of the Foxworthy/redneck bit – to help us out.
- You might be idolatrous if…you delay your spiritual duties until you are more “settled.” Far be it from me to force someone into a position that they are legitimately not ready for, but on more than one occasion, I have heard someone say that they can’t get involved with teaching a Bible class, leading singing, or even being baptized, until their life smooths out a little bit, usually following a job transition or some other major life event. Once again, there will always be times when this is absolutely true: I simply do not have the time to commit to these things, and I legitimately plan on doing it in the future. Sometimes though, they can simply be an excuse, designed to defer responsibilities “until a more convenient time” (Acts 24:25). If there is a legitimate reason to delay, then mark a date and commit to a time in the future, otherwise the pattern of putting everything else before God will inevitably continue ad infinitum.
- You might be idolatrous if…your greatest fear is not missing Heaven. Notice it didn’t say, “going to Hell,” because those are two different mentalities. A lot of people instinctively do enough to get by, hoping to coast into Heaven doing little more than the bare minimum; the one mina guy was most likely hoping for the same (Luke 19:20-27). The reality is, Heaven is not an alternative to Hell, Hell is the alternative to Heaven. We are not on a fast track to the flames and hoping to avoid it by doing some minor course corrections, God has given us a path to Him and allowed His own Son to be brutally murdered to sacrificially provide us a direct line to Him. Christians understand that, and likewise want to spend eternity with Him. If our whole goal is to do the bare minimum so that we don’t go to the place with all the worms, then our concept of Heaven and goal for afterlife is severely skewed.
- You might be idolatrous if…Sundays and Wednesdays are treated as obligations. As Americans, our lives follow a very linear path: we are born, we work, and then we die. We also pay into our 401k or pension plan little by little to secure a retirement that is hopefully more enjoyable than our current reality. This is no different than the way many people view salvation: I come to services and sing, put some money in the plate, listen to a fantastically handsome preacher drone on for 35-40 minutes, and by doing so, I have made my weekly contribution to my spiritual 1025 (Heb. 10:25). That’s not putting God first, that’s relegating His service to nothing more than a checkbox (1 John 5:2-3).
- You might be idolatrous if…you’re on Facebook more than you’re in your Bible. Or Twitter. Or Instagram. Or Pinterest. Whatever it is that you reload every six seconds to desperately find out the latest recipe that someone reposted, there should be a greater desire to dive deeper into God’s Word. His Word is truth (John 17:17). God’s Word is life (John 6:63). Facebook’s word is redundancy, and Twitter’s word is sensational. These tools are not inherently bad, but when we show more interest in scratching our connectivity itch rather than learning about more about the Creator who designed us, our priorities are out of balance.