“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (1 John 5:21)
My daughter just came home from a summer internship /missions trip to Guam, and as a joke to her brother who is just finishing seminary, she brought him back this little idol. Of course, it’s not a problem to him, he’s not going to bow down to it or worship it, that would make him an idolater.
Do you think of yourself as an idolater?
I don’t like to think of myself as one, I know I don’t bow down and worship statues, but, let’s talk about idols. I have been studying sins and virtues these last few weeks, and have come to a very convicting conclusion:
All sin is a form of idolatry.
So (talking of idols) idolatry is turning to anything other than God for our happiness, satisfaction and contentment. Now, I can’t speak for you, but I know myself and I know we humans all fight the same battles, and I know that my biggest idol is “ME”- what makes ME happy!
Think about the following sins:
Greed – If only I had more money, material things, could go shopping and buy whatever I want, then I would be happy!
Envy – If only I had the house, husband, money, lifestyle, children, or body that so-and-so has, then I would be happy!
Lust – If only I had my sexual or physical desires satisfied, then I would be happy!
Sloth -If only I could relax and watch TV, play video games, read, or sleep all day, then I’d be happy!
Gluttony – If I could just get my fill of that delicious food, then I’d be happy!
Anger – If people would just do what I want them to do, the way I want it done, then I’d be happy!
Pride – If people would just give me the respect, admiration, and attention I want, then I’d be happy!
Do you see how all of these sins make it “all about ME” instead of all about Him? THAT’S idolatry! They are all works of the flesh. This is what happens when we let the flesh rule us, the flesh takes a natural need or passion and takes it to excessive, abusive levels. When I turn to anything else but God through His Son Jesus Christ for fulfillment or satisfaction in this life, it is sin- IDOLATRY! God’s Word tells us to “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16).
And the sad thing is that all these things don’t satisfy us, oh they may for a short time, but it’s never enough, we always want MORE! Jesus is the only One who satisfies our longings because what we all are really longing for is Him! Wow! That went full circle, didn’t it? It’s no wonder John ended his epistle of 1 John with a warning about idols! (See 1 John 5:21 above)
So, how do I overcome this idolatry that is rampant inside me?
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin”. Romans 7:24-25
By Turning to Jesus, being close to Him, and allowing myself to be complete in Him, letting Him be my portion, and the fulfillment of my needs; and then allowing His Holy Spirit to work in and through me to serve and minister to others.
As the songwriter so aptly put it:
“Complete in Thee—each want supplied, And no good thing to me denied;
Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be, I ask no more, complete in Thee.”
Next time I’ll talk about some Christ-like virtues and how, by walking in the Spirit, He will be manifested in us and these are the antidotes to that sin that so easily besets us (Hebrews 12:1).
~Graced and Grateful Grammy
When we talk about idols, our biggest idol is ourSELF