“They will no longer look to their idols for help or worship what their own hands have made. They will never again bow down to their Asherah poles or worship at the pagan shrines they have built.” Isaiah 17:8
Antiquities idolatry is not much different from that of modern idolatry in that they both involve seeking divine help from someone or something when God alone is the only answer as well as bowing down in worship to “stuff.” The crux of idolatry is the notion that there is a God-substitute. Sometimes it can feel more convenient to rely solely on a friend when calamity strikes or value material possessions above hard-earned spiritual virtues; however, doing so does not produce the desired long-term result. Have you ever bought a thing to fix your life or bring you joy only to realize that weeks or months later you do not even remember where you placed it? Or how about when you are in crisis and you call someone close to you and you hang up the phone feeling worse? There are no alternatives to God in our lives. Do not fret, if you look around in the spirit and realize that you have placed family members, children, spouses, stuff, money, status, likes, opinions, comments, suggestions, or criticisms on God’s throne. Repent and turn. Turn from seeking those things for whatever it is you were seeking and seek the Lord for everything.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.” Exodus 29:46
Some of us attempt to multi-task our spirituality and serve God and an idol or idols simultaneously. The bible depicts a people that fear God but generationally serve idols, sound familiar? We may tell our children about God with our mouths but demonstrate idolatry with our lives unintentionally. Again, this is not a popular subject, neither is sin, but as God lays subjects on my heart and reveals to me why things are as they are, I am burdened to say what God reveals to me to the body of Christ. God did not spare any expenses when purchasing our freedom so that we can maintain continuous relationship with Him. Imagine giving everything to be with someone and they choose something or someone else that does not love them over your pure love, heartbreaking, right? I thank God for His patience. He would send warning after warning to those in the bible that pursued idols and forsook Him until finally, He let them have what they craved full-time and stepped back while things spiraled out of control. Then when they finally turned from the idol to the true God, He welcomed them back. I can safely assume that when the people that are playing the role of God in our lives realize that they’ve been replaced with the true and living God they may attempt to threaten, condemn, manipulate, mistreat, or neglect us. No need to fear, God knows the power of those who are playing God in our lives because he knows that they are powerless. Nevertheless, we are continually protected and welcomed by God into His opened arms.
“So while these nations feared the LORD, they also served their idols; their children likewise and their grandchildren, as their fathers did, so they do to this day.” 2 Kings 17:41
Do you know who is a huge fan of our idolatry? You guessed it. Satan. We are playing into the enemy’s trick bag, as he is eager for us to cease God worship and resume idol worship. He knows that when we try to serve God and idols we will inadvertently have to choose and often we choose the idol. My loose definition of an idol is anything that has taken God’s place in our lives. For some, an idol may be that thing that you must do instead of God’s work, or the reason why you cannot show godly love, or the person or people whose opinions are so important that they have the power to change the course of your entire day. Others may have an idol that is a literal image, of the ideal body, or socioeconomic status, and Facebook statuses. We may be tempted to look at the lives of other people and put them on pedestals, making them superhuman- demigods of sorts. This is dangerous in nature as people are people and God is God. To conquer this I, use the following scripture in Isaiah 51:12. The scripture also addresses the fear of man which appears to be a form of idolatry as we are to fear God alone and even that is to be a reverential (holy) fear.
“”I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass,” Isaiah 51:12
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,” Hebrews 12:28
Salvation is free; Idolatry expensive. The price tag on idolatry is the severance of a beloved relationship with the Lord in exchange for the things of this world. Our senses and drives are attracted and enticed by many things of this world, but we are not governed by our senses and drives, but rather by the spirit of God that dwells within us.
“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” Romans 8:6
“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.” Romans 8:9-10
Verse 10 of Romans 8 delightfully reminds us that we have been made right with God because of the Spirit of God within us giving us life. Our bodies perish because of sin but our spirits will live forever. Beautifully illustrated, we are given written evidence that we do not have to walk around carrying guilt and shame as accessories. We have right standing with God. We do not worship idols. We are controlled, governed, directed, ordered, and commanded by the Holy Spirit. We have right, absolute, total, acceptable, appropriate, well, and privileged standing in God’s presence. How often does the enemy attempt to convince us that we are not pleasing to God? How often do we believe Him? Could it be that we turn to idols because we have believed the lie that we could never live up to God’s standards? It is the blood of Jesus that makes us acceptable in God’s sight. Idols do not have the authority to accept, approve or give us right standing with God. How can an image or representation of God that is indubitably false validate us in truth?
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
To control the urge to worship an idol we must fall in love with the King of kings and Lord of lords. When we taste of the Lord’s goodness and realize that there is none other who can measure up to His grace, mercy, patience, love, kindness, and provision, despite their intentions we begin to prefer the genuine love of God over the faux love of fictitious gods that we have created with our own hands. Empty the shelves of your heart clear out the closets of your mind and make room for God. As a matter of fact, clear out space within your inner shelving that is exclusively for God, no demigods, idols, or “stuff” welcomed. When God becomes our go-to it lessens the impact of what we go through. Unfortunately, when our focus is on idols, chaos ensues. There may be chaotic moments with the Lord, but there is still peace. This is not the case when serving idols. Chaos comes and resides when idolatry becomes our modus Operandi and peace escapes us. What’s on your shelf?
“God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God.” Psalm 53:2
“and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is Zion’s treasure.” Isaiah 33:6
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