God knows who we are. He knows how we operate and is willing to work with us. Psalm 103:14, one of the coolest verses in the Bible, says, “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”
That’s a good thing!
One attribute of humanity that God works with is our desire to have physical things in our religion. We need to be very careful of this tendency, but God has thrown us a bone or two on this front.
Baptism is a physical picture of the spiritual reality of being placed into the Body of Christ.
Communion is done “in remembrance” of Christ until He returns.
Marriage is a physical demonstration of oneness as well as Christ’s relationship to the Church.
Creation reminds us of His nature and the work of His hands.
Just because a physical thing has a part in your religion doesn’t mean you’re an idolater.
The problem comes when we depend on these things, when these things (even Communion or marriage) become enough for us that we never get to God behind them. Those who celebrate how great their marriage is because of God, rather than celebrating how good God is because of their marriage.
If taking communion or being baptized is the substance of your God-awareness, or if you have little desire to know God as long as you have these things, you might be in trouble.
Physical things can also be used as a natural outpouring of true spiritual growth. We don’t take Communion to get brownie points with God; we take Communion to remember the Lord’s death until He comes. Communion is no substitute for heart worship, but it can be an expression of heart worship.
In the end, God is the judge of our worship. One good way to determine where your focus is at with worship is whether you are doing it for yourself and the fine feelings, or if you are doing it for God, regardless of whether you “benefit” or not.
Yes, all true worship will benefit you, but if you just do it for you, idolatry aint far behind.