Hours of counterfeit worship

We all worship something, right? Last night I spent a few hours doing just that. I’ve struggled with the question of whether to recognize it as a god or not for the past few years. Ten years back, video games were an idol. Sold those off, and I can’t tell you how good that has felt. Now? I’d have to say something I need to prune my life of is the admiration of sports. Specifically, Virginia Tech football.

Video games and Virginia Tech football are gods? They sound like things that wouldn’t really destroy your life. They’re not drugs, porn, alcohol…..continue the legalistic/usual “destructive gods” list you’ve heard in church here. I sit here in a Virginia Tech t-shirt as I write this. People think of me when they watch their games. When you see my face online, I’m usually wearing a VT hat. It doesn’t carry me with it, I carry it.

Their season started last night, and I set aside other things to put my focus on a fuzzy streaming video from some hacked website since I no longer have cable and ESPN3 was blacked out in my area. A website was blacked out, and angered me because I had to go searching for some illegal stream? SAD. I was tempted to buy a $50 LivingSocial deal for one of their games yesterday. Right now, I think I get sick thinking of spending another 3 hours watching their next game.

I want to know your thoughts on this? I’m sure there will be a broad spectrum of responses. What do I do with 20-30 t-shirts (90% of my wardrobe is Chicago Maroon and Orange)? If I reflect a sports team more than I reflect my God, it’s time for a change. Even if some believe I do reflect God “well” at times! After reading Jefferson Bethke’s spoken words (and watching the video) below, how would you respond? How could this not be a conviction, if the feeling is so serious?

Words from Counterfeit Gods by Jefferson Bethke

What’s on your throne?
What do you chase, so you don’t feel alone?
What defines you? What do you give ultimate worth?
What, if taken, would bring ultimate hurt?

That. is. your. god.

And, all of us, we’ve sacrificed deep joy for shallow happiness.
To be honest, we look like fools.
We’re like full-grown adults in the kiddy pool.
Going, oh my goodness guys – this is like so cool!

Cause’ we’re slaves to our possessions.
We’re always craving something new.
Reality check. If you can’t give it up, you don’t own it. It owns you.

And that’s why the Bible, it says we’re spiritual prostitutes.
In fact, it even says we’re worse.
Cause’ at least prostitutes get paid for their works.
All we get paid is a hearse.

And that’s why worship, it’s not just behavior.
It goes way into our core.
So ask, what is your god?
What do you bow down before?


  1. Rosanne

    It’s the things that are not necessarily bad that trip us up. It’s not wrong to eat, but when your life revolves around food and the idea of missing lunch makes you panic, then food has moved from it’s right place to idol status. Anything can become a god – from people’s approval to our children’s achievement to being healthy. If you feel this strong of a conviction, I think it would be wrong not to act on that. What you are supposed to do – well, that’s between you and God. Good luck Gabe – it’s tough to knock down our idols.

  2. Thanks for posting this up. Very convicting for anybody (especially me) if they just listen to the words. The line that got me:

    “Reality check. If you can’t give it up, you don’t own it. It owns you.”

    Applies to so much – hobbies, ministries, technology (smart phones, etc), sports, wow.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Greg! The reality check line was definitely spot on. Appreciate you taking the time to watch Jefferson’s video….lots to soak in.

  3. We’ve been reading through Ezekiel the past couple of weeks. Wow, God has vengeance toward idol worshippers. (I’m thankful for the Gospel and the blood of Jesus! God’s wrath is satisfied at the cross…)

    What seems vitally important to me, and an equally good strategy, is to elevate Christ in my worship. The more He is lived for and exalted in my life, the more all of the things that could easily become idols retain their appropriate places in my life.

    So yes, I’m going to watch 4 hours of college football on any given Saturday, but I’m going to spend way more time than that each week in worship, devotions, ministry and loving people.

    Go as the Spirit leads you, Gabe.

    • Good stuff, Neil. I think it’s different for everyone, and the Spirit convicts on different levels as a result. I’ll probably enjoy watching some sports here and there when company is involved (when it’s a social thing). We’ll see how God continues to move. Glad you stopped by!

  4. Matt Hutchison

    Gabe – Yea, this is a conviction area for me that I am working on too. One of the best ways to combat this was the cutting of my cable recently. It removed wasted time and brings a lot less junk into the house now for the family/me to see. I will admit that over the weekend I was trying to find ways to find the OSU game w/out the cable. I am trying to be more intentional with my time and listening to God to where he wants me to put my time in at that will make a difference for my family and his Kingdom.

    • Cutting cable definitely is a big step with this type of stuff. Crazy how that tool just stole so much time without us realizing it at first. Glad to hear God has blessed you with a great family!

  5. Adam Young

    I quit following baseball this season, admittedly for different reasons than you, but here’s my advice on the clothes: take them to Good Will and go to Target and get some very nice t shirts for 5 or 6 bucks. You can buy a pack of plain whites for around home for very cheap. You can get a whole wardrobe of shirts for the price of about 2 or 3 sports shirts.

  6. As a fellow Hokie, your post hit hard. A few years ago I heard Perry Noble share that he was not going to let the athletic performance of a bunch of 18 year olds determine his outlook on life. It really made me think about how much I have let college football control my life. I still watch it, but I am not consumed by it. If they lose, I refuse to let it ruin my day. My family and children are far more important than any football game. Thanks for the video and thanks for the transparency in what God is speaking to you.

    • Seems like a good amount of people are struggling with this, so it’s good to hear some more details like this. Glad to hear football no longer owns you. Thanks for stopping by, Mike!

Leave A Comment?