Revelation 22:8-9 | 1 Corinthians 3:4

They’re only human…and so are you!

Celebrity Worship Syndrome (CWS) is the current psychological term for obsessively following the details of a famous person’s life. People with severe cases think they’re destined to be with their favorite celebrity, are personally affected by what happens to them, and would do anything their celebrity asked–even if it meant breaking the law. Milder cases of CWS involve discussing the favorite celebrity’s weekend plans, obsessively seeking updates on their activities, and compulsively thinking about them. 

No matter how mild or severe, celebrity worship is…(pause for emphasis)…still worship. And worship is reserved for God only.

Think about when the Apostle John worshiped the angel who revealed the future of the world to him.

And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!”

Revelation 22:8b-9 NLT

He rebuked John and reminded him to only worship God. If worshiping an angel while he works for God’s glory is not cool, how much less cool is it to worship some guy or girl doing who-knows-what for their own glory?

But is it really worshiping a celebrity to get all caught up in how great they are? If someone is showing extravagant respect, honor, or devotion–that is the definition of worship, according to Merriam-Webster–then, yes. 

And celebrity worship is not just reserved for rock stars or A-List actors, either. Some Christians get hung up on celebrity church leaders. They see them on the screen–either in their home or up in the front of the auditorium–and that leader becomes larger-than-life. Next thing they know, they care more about what so-and-so says than what Jesus says.

But this phenomenon started way before flat screens.   

When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?

1 Corinthians 3:4 NLT

The Apostle Paul dealt with celebrity worship–way back in his day! He calls it worldly to idolize your Christian leaders. Do you really want to act like the people of this crazy, fading world?

The next time you find yourself marveling at how great some celebrity is, remember: they are a person just like you. God loves you as much as them. And he is the only one who deserves your worship.

Questions for Group Discussion

  • Why might celebrity worship be a problem? How much adoration is okay?
  • What might be a healthy alternative to adoring a celebrity? 
  • Which celebrity or celebrities are you most likely to obsess over?

Application: You’re the Man

All of this is completely made up. Or rather, it will be.

Your assignment is to make up a story…in which you’re the main character! Here’s the scenario:

  • You are the most famous person in the whole world.
  • You meet your most devoted fan.

Be sure to answer these questions in your story:

  • What happens?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • What changes do you make as a result of this experience?