Lecrae Moore, the celebrated American hip-hop artist, grew up without a father and suffered abuse during his childhood. He filled his life with drugs, alcohol, sex and gang activity. He was so wild his friends nicknamed him “Crazy Crae”. But he discovered that his real problem was his sin and brokenness. In his album ‘Anomaly’ he writes “Gimme a pen and a pad I’m tryna outlast all of my idols …… Tryna get me a throne of my own so I could put my feet up. Thank God my kingdom was overthrown by the soul redeemer”. n a rap titled “Truth” he talks about people like himself who are in the grip of “idols in their heart”. His music listened to by millions of young people, wants to see them released from the power of false gods by the power of truth.
Throughout the whole Biblical story, idolatry is the supreme threat to faith because it takes root in the desires of the human heart and so threatens our whole-hearted allegiance to the living God. Regardless of what our minds know, the imagination of our hearts can turn truth into falsehood and reality into fantasy. Theologian John Calvin famously said that “the human heart is a perpetual idol factory”. This idol-making propensity of our hearts is a destructive threat to faith and our thinking can be shaped by the images of our imagination. If we do not understand the nature of idolatry, we will not be able to identify idols or confront them in our own lives, nor the lives of our students or in our educational tasks.
We all create idols to take the place of God. When we choose to not face our Creator or face ourselves, we begin the process of idolatry. Romans 1:25 says “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” For sin presupposes us to want to be independent from God in His majesty and holiness, but we still need our God-shaped hearts filled.
The first commandment may seem outdated if we think of idols as statues made of stone or wood. But an idol is something within creation that is inflated as a substitute for the true and living God. It is counterfeit that presents itself as something other than God as the ultimate source of hope, security, and happiness. An idol can be a person, an activity, an idea, an image or an institution and presents itself through deception that it can deliver the good life. It deceives us into believing that the idol can fulfil our longings while we maintain control of our lives, autonomous architects of our own futures. “That to which your heart clings and entrusts itself is, I say, really your God.”  The idol becomes the ultimate reality, giving meaning and purpose to life and guiding moral decisions. The tragedy is that when God’s good gift becomes an idol, it cannot bear that weight and a process of destruction sets in. The gift itself is progressively destroyed and it disappoints and disillusions those who put their trust in it.
What are the false gods seducing us, our children, and our young people? For “idols are not just on pagan altars, but in well-educated human hearts and minds.”  These talks will help us to identify the idols of our age, that we might lead our students to ponder deeply the consequences of idolatry and walk with them to face the existential questions that they are asking. s Christian teachers and parents, we make the serious mistake of just cultivating a Biblical belief system and a more intense devotional life without assisting them to engage with the issues of faith that impact the world which they inhabit.
The most fundamental decision our children are called to make during their lifetime is what will be what they see as ultimate reality and the reason for their existence. The Bible says this choice is about who or what they will worship. As teachers, we are to model both in our personal lives and in our ministry, what it means to worship the Biblical God, living out His truth across the whole of life. This means we must first ask ourselves, “does my school culture and the teaching and learning promote self-centredness and love of self above love of God and neighbour? What are the corporate idols of western education?” Does my Christian faith speak to the whole of life?
“And we are in Him who is true – even in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Dear children, keep yourself from idols.” I John 5: 20, 21
Grace and Peace
 Brad Wete, Interview: Lecrae Talks about going from ‘Crazy Crae’ to ‘Christian Rapper, in Understanding Truth, www.Complex.com, 8 June, 2020, Accessed 19 April 2022.
 Martin Luther, The Larger Catechism of Martin Luther, translated by Robert Fischer, (USA: Philadelphia Fortress, 1959), 9.
 Os Guinness, No God but God: Breaking with the Idols of the Age, (USA: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 30.