Idolatry

Idolatry
noun idol·a·try \-trē\
: the worship of a picture or object as a god

The root word of idolatry is Idol defined as:                                                                                     1. – a greatly loved or admired person                                                                                                 2. – a picture or object that is worshiped as a god

Today I start this message with these definitions because they have been on my heart a great deal lately. Exodus 20: 1-6 lays out a very clear instruction regarding idolatry.

Ten Commandments for the Covenant Community
Then God gave the people all these instructions: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. “You must not have any other god but me. “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. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

Discussions I have had recently tell me that many in our world believe that idolatry does not exist in America. The argument I have heard made is that we don’t have churches who make physical idols to bow to and worship. Really? In Ephesians 5:5, Paul spells it out clearly. He minces no words and describes exactly what idolatry is: You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. In fact, all of Ephesians 5 is about living as Christ lived. Elevating or worshiping nothing above Christ. Even husbands and wife’s are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Not to elevate or worship each other above Christ.

When people pick 1 or 2 verses from a book that has 31,102 verses and take use them as literal support for their argument, it amazes me. I am not the smartest man in the world, but even I know to cross reference and fact check before I start making absolute arguments. This is important about any argument, but especially when arguing a basis for religious foundation. I believe that any thing that is elevated to a priority in your life above God, automatically becomes an idol. Facebook, TV, Football, Electronic Devices, Alcohol, Vehicles, Any Thing – It is an idol. Having a church built to worship something is not the only criteria for qualifying an idol. Elevating any thing to a position that it becomes between you and God is what makes it an idol. Sadly, based on that criteria, people can even make the Word of God (the Bible) an idol.

Where is your priority and focus?

My Prayer Today                                                                                                                           Father God, cleanse my heart and forgive my sins. Lead me to You in everything I do. Help me to trust You always and put nothing between us. Make me Your hands and feet to the world, and let Your Light shine through me in everything I do.

In the name of Your Son, Jesus,

Amen.

3 thoughts on “Idolatry

  1. “When anything in life is an absolute requirement for your happiness and self-worth, it is essentially an ‘idol,’ something you are actually worshiping. When such a thing is threatened, your anger is absolute. Your anger is actually the way the idol keeps you in its service, in its chains. Therefore if you find that, despite all the efforts to forgive, your anger and bitterness cannot subside, you may need to look deeper and ask, ‘What am I defending? What is so important that I cannot live without?’ It may be that, until some inordinate desire is identified and confronted, you will not be able to master your anger.”
    ― Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters

    Liked by 1 person

  2. C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters has a bit on idolatry…Consider this passage from Letter VII, in which senior devil Screwtape advises his nephew Wormwood on whether it would be better to make his “patient”—the young man (becoming a Christian) whom he is tempting—into a patriot or a pacifist during WWII.

    “Whichever he adopts, your main task will be the same. Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or the Pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the ‘Cause,’ in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war effort or of pacifism.”

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