Most of us have a really good idea what idol worship is and what an idol is. Defining idol worship is the same thing as defining idolatry. The very first commandment of the Ten Commandments is, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3.
So why is this such a big deal in God’s eyes? Is it because God is a jealous God? That’s part of it. God states that in His Word all throughout the Old Testament, and repeats it in the New Testament. What does it mean to commit idolatry (to worship idols)? It means that you are putting something more important than God. It is telling God that His Sovereignty isn’t enough for you. It is telling God that you do not believe He IS God. It is saying to God that you will not trust Him nor believe that He is above all!
If you were married, would you want your spouse to love another person more than you? Would you not be jealous? Naturally you would be. We are made in the image of God, to be like Him inside and out! He made us that way for many good reasons. But there are some other reasons why we should not commit idolatry.
First of all, God says not to. We don’t have to understand something God says, to obey. That is an essential key to all of Christianity. We obey God because we love Him. We believe and have faith in God because we love Him. We obey because we believe (have faith) in Him. That’s love, and makes God the Lord of our lives, which brings eternal life.
God’s Word shows us that a key to victory in our everyday lives is to rid ourselves of all our idols. Understand, that every good thing can be a bad thing. Here is a list of examples that can be good or be idols:
TV ~~~ Bedroom ~~~ Computer ~~~ A picture or statue
How you look ~~~ Food ~~~ Clothing ~~~ Money
House ~~~ Children ~~~ Your “Calling” ~~~ Ministry
Popularity ~~~ Education ~~~ Your mind ~~~ Sex
Talent ~~~ Any Person ~~~ Reputation ~~~ Sleep
Job ~~~ Yourself
A few decades ago, I was already operating with a good anointing in the gifts of the Spirit. I was active in doing deliverances, praying for the sick, seeing miracles (like legs grow out) and other manifestations of God’s greatness and lovingkindnesses. But I did a horrible thing during that time. I had been in the Word of God since I was very young, prayed daily, and had faith to move mountains all through my childhood. So, I had a lot of knowledge as well as experience. But I had let something sickening creep into my spirit. It is called, pride.
One night I had come home sad from a prayer meeting where there was ministry of laying on of hands and praying for one another. Someone had made a negative comment about me, which in those days would be like a giant sword entering my heart and belly. I laid in bed crying out to God asking Him to show me if I had done something wrong to deserve such a verbal attack.
These days, if someone says something negative about me, I know to discern it or judge it (as the Bible says to do). I know if it is the wisdom from the pit of hell or the wisdom from above. See James 3, near end of chapter. Still, I take everything to God in prayer.
But that night, lying in my bed agonizing over such rejection, God spoke as clear as a bell to me. He said, “Stephanie your sin is idolatry. You idolize yourself. When you are around other people you actually think you are better than them.”
Whoosh! A Holy White and Pure Sword split my entire being! I was so cut up that I could barely stand the pain. I mean, I could barely stand it. God had righteously flayed me wide open like one would when they take the sharpest of knives solely designed to fillet a fish right down the middle and pick out the bone structure.
I wept as hard as one ever could, and felt like I had hurt God so badly I wondered if I could ever get back into His right standing again. But we know that He provided grace for those very reasons. Grace is a gift that Jesus bought on the cross when He spilled His blood in place of our punishment. By faith we are saved when we receive His sacrifice (the gift He purchased) and turn to God in repentance.
Pride feeds idolatry.
Fear feeds pride.
Insecurity feeds pride and fear.
Wounds inside your heart feed insecurity, fear, bitterness, and control (bad kind of control).
Forgiveness heals wounds and gives you strength to overcome the weaknesses, and fills your heart back up with love, strength, and confidence of being who God says you are in His sight.
Idolatry is sneaky. It can sneak right up inside of you without you really realizing it. It can take any combination of those things written above. The following is what can happen if idolatry is in your life, taken from Joshua 7:13.
“. . . There is an accursed thing in the midst of you, O Israel: you cannot stand before your enemies, until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”
We cannot afford to be defeated by our enemies! Here is a simple example: If food is more important to you than what you know is right (making it an idol and causing you to sin) then your body will suffer the circumstances with disease or weight gain that you don’t want. I’m talking about that every day temptation that you give into; I’m not talking about God’s abundance to bless you and give you feast times. There is a big difference. Let us be in liberty! Let us be in wisdom!!
Any idol can bring about an open door to any type of enemy. It can be a food idol, but the enemy could be someone in your church or neighborhood. Just like when you give God a financial gift, your reward may be through someone’s kindness that does not relate to money.
Please understand, I am not saying that if you have an enemy, it is due to you having an idol. That is just one avenue. Sometimes having an enemy is just a test to purify you.
So, let’s see what happens to us when we get rid of any idol or idols! This is the good part! God’s children were allowed and able to smash their enemy and receive the victory God had ordained for them by removing the idols from their presence. God said in Joshua 8: 1, after they got rid of the idol and all, that Joshua should not fear and that he would receive the land God wanted for them.
Do you have an area you need victory in? Is it idolatry related?
Consider Daniel 3:17~18, 28. Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego refused to bow down to the idol that their king Nebuchadnezzar had built and demanded that all bow down to it when some special music was played throughout the kingdom. Not loving their own lives more than they loved God, they refused to bow to the idol. Here is what happened:
“If it be so, our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.”
The three men who loved God first, above anything and all else, were then thrown into a furnace as big as a small house. They did not die, nor when they came out, there was no smell of smoke or fringed hair upon them. Jesus even visited them in the furnace!!
Verse 28 is the victory proclamation, “Then Nebuchadnezzar spoke, and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Who has sent His angel, and delivered His servants that trusted in Him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own GOD.””
In finishing, I would like to state another reason why it is important to God that we do not have any idols in our lives.
God seeks only to bless His children. He has everything designed for us to have an abundant life. That’s why Jesus came; to give us abundant life. Walking in sin chokes out the blessings. God has shown the way for us to walk in abundant life and knows that He is the only source of everything that is good!!!!! If we do not look to Him for answers and comfort, joy and strength, we will miss out on His perfect and blessed path He has made available to us.
Even if you have no idols, you will be tempted to have one. The greater the test, the greater reward is at hand. Meshach and those guys were instantly promoted after their test. Their test was a harsh one. Their commitment? SOLID!!!!
Solid commitments make the test easier.
“Thank You for this new step and understanding You have brought into my life, that I may glorify You more! Thank You for wanting the best for me.
Right now I give You every idol (name each idol Holy Spirit brings to your mind and heart, one by one). (Then pray this) . . .
I repent and forever forsake any idol worship. Please forgive me for putting this (name the idol) before You. Never will I do this again.
I love you God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. You alone are my God and Lord. Thank You for forgiving me and setting me free from defeat, and anointing my life for victory in all things!
In Jesus’ precious name I pray, and I mean this all with all of my heart. Amen.”