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WOW Word - Idolatry

Images of Idolatry

I wonder if you are like me and when you hear the word idolatry, you imagine somebody bowing before a statue and worshipping it. A good example is the story of the Israelites worshipping the golden calf, as recorded by Moses in Exodus 32. Or perhaps in our own time when seeing people bow down to the statue of the Buddha or one of the many Hindu gods.

Therefore, we tend to think that idolatry is worshipping statues or worshipping in other religions such as Islam, Jainism and Zoroastrianism. However, the Bible is very clear, certainly Jesus was, that idolatry is a threat to living and partaking of the Christian life. How can that be, you may very well ask?

Christian Idolatry

As a Christian, you are to love God and love others. Anything that replaces your love of God as your first priority, is an idol, and therefore, is idolatry. For idolatry is not merely worshipping statues. Idolatry is the transference of allegiance to something apart from God. It is worshipping created things, and not worshipping God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Idolatry can be anything! For anything can take first place in your life! It may be your computer, your car, your books, your family, your church, a Christian leader, entertainment, celebrities and even love of yourself! These are all good things, in and of themselves, but they are not good things if they remove God from first priority in your life. These things can turn out to be idols, because they relegate your thinking of Almighty God to below first place.

Idolatry is the mind’s sin

Paul writes to the Roman church in Romans 1:18-25

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is for ever praised. Amen."

In that passage of scripture, Paul links idolatry with immorality. Immorality is the outer sins and idolatry is the inward sin. Idolatry is an attitude inside you that says to God “You are not first place, this other thing is”. Somebody who commits the sin of idolatry is a slave to that something else, and is not a slave to God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, idolatry is not just worshipping in another religion and bowing down to statues. Idolatry is relegating God to second place, in both actions and attitudes. Therefore cast off anything that is blocking your relationship with Almighty God. As idolatry is primarily the sin of the mind, those depraved ideas turn to sins of lusts and idolatrous physical pleasures. Be renewed in your thinking and have a renewed mind, so that you can worship Almighty God through Jesus Christ the Lord, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

How’s that for a WOW Word?

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