Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The Subtle Trap of Idolatry

These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. (1 Corinthians 10:6-7 NLT)

Everyone has a god. Even atheists have something they believe in. That god may be themselves. It may be a possession. Or, it may be a career. But everyone has something they live for, something that gets them up in the morning, drives them on, and gives their lives a sense of meaning.

The question is, who or what do you believe in?

The Lord wants to rule and reign in our hearts. And He wants everything else in our lives to be a distant second to Him. He wants our primary passion, excitement, and purpose to be a love for Him.

The apostle Paul said, “To me, living means living for Christ” (Philippians 1:21 NLT). That should be the motto of every Christian. It’s something that we all should be able to say.

An idol is anything or anyone that takes the place of God in our lives. It’s anything that would begin to crowd our relationship with God and become more important to us than God Himself.

Writing to the church in Corinth, Paul referred to a specific instance in the lives of the Israelites when they worshipped the golden calf. He wrote, “These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did” (1 Corinthians 10:6-7 NLT).

The children of Israel had seen God work in dramatic ways. They saw God deliver them from the land of Egypt with a number of miracles that He performed on their behalf. He turned the Nile River to blood, sent plagues of lice and frogs, and even killed the Egyptians’ firstborn sons.

Then, when they began their journey, God opened the Red Sea for them, and they crossed on dry ground. Afterward it closed behind them, drowning the Egyptian army in the process. In addition, the Lord provided a miraculous navigation system: a huge cloud guided them during the day, and a fire in the sky directed them at night.

And every morning when they walked outside their tents, a breakfast of manna was waiting for them, supplied by the Creator Himself. But despite all these miracles, the people turned their backs on God and engaged in full-blown idolatry.

The problem was their faith was shallow. Thus, they were fickle. And from the moment that Moses left their midst to meet with God on Mount Sinai, it was only a matter of time until they started looking for something to take his place. So the plan for the golden calf was devised, and the Bible tells us about the horrible results.

Certainly, miracles and supernatural phenomena do not guarantee a mature faith that will resist the temptations in our paths. Sooner or later, we must take personal responsibility for our actions and our sins and call them what they are.

Let’s guard ourselves from the subtle trap of idolatry. Let’s not allow anyone or anything to take precedence over Jesus Christ in our hearts.

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