When you think of Idolatry, what do you think of? Buda’s, Hindu statues, golden calves, carved wooden images, figurines? Do you picture people in the Old Testament bowing down and paying homage to a piece of wood?
When the word “idolatry” is mentioned many people tend to picture little graven images in their minds. Well, that’s part of what idolatry is, but there is more to it than that….
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5
Idolatry is not just worshiping a statue, carving, or figurine. It’s also covetousness and it occurs when we have adoration, excessive honor, or worship for something other than God. It’s something that we treat as a ‘god’; something we sacrifice for and purse in place of God. Like money, power, family, children, entertainment, careers, ourselves, sports. If your family takes first priority in your life, than that’s your ‘god’. If your career takes first priority in your life, than that’s your ‘god’. And so on. This is why God’s first commandment to Moses was, “I am the Lord thy God, … Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” The root of every sin can be found in breaking the first commandment. For idolatry is the sin from which all other sins flow.
The prophet Ezekiel even likens idolatry to cheating on your spouse. Check it out…
“…you gave yourself as a prostitute to every man who came along. Your beauty was theirs for the asking. You used the lovely things I gave you to make shrines for idols, where you played the prostitute. Unbelievable! How could such a thing ever happen? You took the very jewels and gold and silver ornaments I had given you and made statues of men and worshiped them. This is adultery against Me!” Ezekiel 16:15-17
If you have ever had to go through the pain of having an unfaithful spouse, then you know this is one of the most agonizing experiences a person can have. It’s the ultimate betrayal! Yet, this is exactly what many in the church are doing today, they are cheating on Christ, with idols. It’s the ultimate betrayal of the bride on her loving Groom, Christ. But the sad part is, we think it’s okay.
Here is what I mean. Imagine going out to eat, and while you were there, you noticed your pastor sitting at a table with another woman, other than his wife. As you walked closer you noticed he was flirting, holding hands, and staring at her in a loving way. So, like any Christian would do, you approach him and ask who he is with and what is going on. Imagine him smiling and nonchalantly replying, “Oh, I’m on a date.”
“But what about your wife?”
He laughs and shakes his head in agreement, “What about her? I love her too. My wife and I go out all the time, but today I’m with her.”
Can you imagine the disgust and anger you would feel from seeing that? And do you think when that pastor got home his wife would be happy? I think not! But this is exactly what we do to Christ, we nonchalantly cheat on him with idols and we have no remorse or regret for doing so. In fact, we welcome it, just as the pastor welcomed his date. And God is not happy with this, just as the wife would not be happy to know her husband was cheating on her. God doesn’t want to be one of many gods, He wants to be the only God! There is no cohabitation and no open marriages.
Gods isn’t interested in being first place in our lives; no he’s not interested in hierarchies. He’s not interested in competing for other things or people to have that first place in your life. He is not interested in being first on our organizational charts, for He is the Organization Chart. He’s not interested in board meetings, for He is the board meeting. Make sense? No other applicants are allowed. Only God, he should be the only one.
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods…” Exodus 20:3-5
Want to start identifying ‘gods’ in your life? Then you have got to ask yourself a few questions:
1. What is it that you purse most?
2. Where do you turn when you are hurting?
3. What makes you mad?
4. What worries or stresses you out?
5. Where do you spend a your money?
Answering these questions will help you to know what idols exist in your life. My suggestion is to turn away from them and turn to Christ. Repent and have faith. Stop LOVING that idol you are worshiping and love God more! Crave God, not the idol, and when you feel a nudge to serve that idol, turn to God and worship him instead; for you will be fulfilled far more than any satisfaction an idol can give. Trust me, now is the time for the bride of Christ to stop her betrayal and come back to the loving arms of Christ.
Love you all!
For more information on this subject read: “gods at War” by Kyle Idleman (notes taken)