Fear the LORD your God, serve him only..
DEUTERONOMY 6 : 13
Yahweh, God, has detested idols from the beginning. In fact, a large portion of the Old Testament shows how God’s people, the Israelites, turned to idols so quickly and God was against it.
Idols are anything that take the place of God in our life! It can be technology, career, people, relationships, social media, traditions, culture, statistics, logic, science, role models.
The question is, can a born-again believer go back to idolatry? Yes, that is possible. Scripture points out to this –
For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.Therefore, do not be partakers with them. Ephesians 5:5-7 NKJV
Let’s look at seven ways idols can enter a believer’s life and turn us away from God –
- WHEN MARRIED TO AN UNBELIEVER
I have oftentimes heard believers say, ‘He or she will believe in Jesus after we get married’. The truth is that he or she may or may not! It all depends on the grace of God and your behaviour towards your spouse (after you get married).
While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them. Numbers 25:1-3
People who marry this way find it hard to go to church on Sundays, leave alone attending weekly prayers or bible studies. Some find it hard to even say ‘no’ to idol worship. Still some, unfortunately, turn away from their faith in Jesus Christ. Let’s remember that even the wisest man on earth, King Solomon, could not take stand! Can you imagine? Even the wisest couldn’t resist.
There are a few reasons believers end up marrying unbelievers –
- Parents do not bring up children in the word of God.
- We do not seek his will (Bible) for marriage, instead choose based on our emotions.
- We lack patience and are in a hurry to get married.
- We come under pressure to marry people of the same caste or denomination.
Instead, if we obey God and marry a believer in Christ, we can avoid letting idols enter our lives. There is always wisdom in what God says!
- WHEN OUR ENVIRONMENT IS IMPURE
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Mathew 6:22-23
Words and visuals have great power to affect our thinking or even shape our very DNA! Let nothing impure stay in our environment.
This is something we need to watch out for. With whom or where do we spend most of our time? Whom do we listen to and look up to? What we are watching on Netflix, Youtube, Instagram, Facebook? Because words and visuals have great power to affect our thinking or even shape our very DNA! And it is based on this that we act. This does not stop with us, but it goes down to our children and our children’s children!
Watch out for those who have the appearance of light but are full of darkness (1 Corinthians 11:14-15). They are wolf coming in sheepskin, looking to devour men and lead them astray.
When Gibeonites approached Joshua in disguise as though they were coming from a distant land in sack clothes and with dried bread, they were in fact from the neighborhood. Joshua and the elders did not realise, and instead pitied and made an oath to protect them. What happened? The land that was supposed to be entirely for Israelites, now had a share given to the Gibeonites because of the oath.
Let nothing impure stay in our environment!
- WHEN GREED CONTROLS OUR ACTIONS
In Joshua 7:1-21, we see how a man named Achan took some plunder from Babylon because he found them beautiful; when God had told them not to. He even hid it inside his tent. Achan saw these things as very beautiful, very costly. It was appealing to the eyes and thought these will make him wealthy. However, his greed made him come against God and God’s anger burnt against the whole of Israel.
Look for inheritance in heaven and not on earth, because only heaven lasts for eternity.Tweet
The same greed made satan fall from heaven. He coveted God’s throne, which made him lose his position in heaven and is condemned to hell eternally! Satan also used a forbidden fruit, appealing to the eyes, to deceive Adam and Eve with a lie that they will become like God. They forgot that that they were already created in God’s image. Greed took them over! Satan tried it on Jesus too, by showing him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour.
What is satan showing you to make you greedy? Money, power, women, men, riches, etc. They all will fade away. Bible says, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life” (John 6:27).
Look for inheritance in heaven and not on earth, because only heaven lasts for eternity.
- WHEN WE WORSHIP SCULPTURES, IMAGES
Have some of us considered how we might have been carrying idols all along? Let me explain this. God clearly tells us in His word that we must not form idols of any kind. Not even images and sculptors of Jesus!
Slowly but surely, you will see yourself following the things and people of whom you make sculptures and images, worshiping them unknowingly or knowingly.
You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air,or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. Deu 4:15-19
Unfortunately, we see it as a common practice to have images of Christ and other people and things in our homes, mobiles screens, cars and ornaments. Some of us, even in our churches. Slowly but surely, you will see yourself following these things and people, worshiping them unknowingly or knowingly.
Let us replace all of them with scriptures today! Not some other day! If you do it, you will see the change in the atmosphere!
- WHEN OUR COMMUNICATION WITH GOD AND HIS PEOPLE STOPS
Some of us choose to stop praying and reading God’s word. Later, when we end up not being able to hear God, see his hand, his miracles and healing in our lives, we question God for not speaking to us. Then, we eventually turn to another for the answer! This is just like what the Israelites did in the wilderness.
Exodus 32:1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
There are some who like to adapt to the culture to please people, to tradition to please ancestors, to religion to please themselves and in the end, miss out on pleasing God. They can’t make out the difference between culture, tradition, religion from kingdom, simply because their lives are not being built on solid foundation. These days we come across this to an extent, where a believer dating someone tells them, ‘If you don’t agree to sleep before marriage, you are religious!’ When the line between truth and culture or religion is being pushed and made thinner, sin will become the new norm!
That is why, when our communication with God and His people stops and we are not rooted and built-up in Christ, we begin to give ourselves to hollow and deceptive philosophies based on human traditions and demonic in nature.
Let’s restart today!
- WHEN WE LIVE A DISOBEDIENT LIFE
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 1 John 3:9
One of the ways to train ourselves to lift the spirit over the flesh is by fasting and praying. Why? On one hand, we are intentionally making efforts to strengthen our Spirit man and on the other, we are receiving more grace to overcome sins!
Many try to use the logic, ‘I have been saved by grace and not by works, so I don’t need to prove my salvation with works’. Yes, we are saved by grace, but because the seed of God (Jesus) is in us and we have received a new heart, we cannot go on sinning. We will always be deeply convicted of our sins and be led to repent! I have seen it in my life! The day I was saved, I realised my sins and I repented of them. Those who grow in the Lord, read the Bible and pray, will themselves come across certain sins and patterns in their life and overcome them.
Is it possible to be very passionate when born again but over period of time, slack back and reach a point where sin doesn’t prick us anymore? Yes, our spirit man becomes weak when we choose to listen to more of the flesh in our spiritual journey and then our decisions, speech, conduct, emotions, and feeling are being led by the flesh. One of the ways to train ourselves to lift the spirit over the flesh is by fasting and praying. Why? On one hand, we are intentionally making efforts to strengthen our Spirit man and on the other, we are receiving more grace to overcome sins!
Let there be no loopholes (unrepented sins) for Satan to enter!
- WHEN OUR FELLOWSHIPPING IS JUST AN EVENT
This is a dangerous place for any of us to be in! Children of God, over the years, have started to see correction and rebuke within the body of Christ as an offense.
Let’s open ourselves to fellowship with saints, and let church be about doing life together.Tweet
This is because spiritual pride has taken over humility, we are casual about sin, not giving importance to the work of the Holy Spirit, and selectively hearing what suits us. This is why some people have idolised certain preachers, whose teachings match their lifestyle. They do this so that they don’t have to beat their body down.
We read about Phinehas, a man whom God commended for his zeal and act of killing an Israelite man and Moabite women for their disobedience. (Numbers 25:13) Did God not stop the plague based on Phinehas’ act?
Then why do we hate correction today? Let’s open ourselves to fellowship with saints, and let church be about doing life together. We must not and cannot sit silent when we see sin creeping into the body of Christ.
Let us, as believers, guard ourselves from making idols and turning away from the one true God. As Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’
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