Today, I begin a serious of articles on Sins that are Overlooked. When we think of sin, there are sins that come to our mind – lying, stealing, murder, adultery, fornication, swearing, etc. However, there are sins that we often don’t think about or give attention to in our lives that the Bible clearly speaks about.
In the list of the ten commandments, sins like stealing, killing, and adultery we are quick to remember. However, the very 1st commandment in Exodus 20 is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” This sin is called idolatry through the Scripture. An idol is anything that is placed before God. God often reproves Israel for having forsaken him and turned to other gods. The sin of idolatry is one that God hates.
Exodus 20:3 (KJV)
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
In the New Testament, the first and greatest commandment of all is found in Matthew 22:37-38:
Matthew 22:37-38 (KJV)
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
Idolatry violates this first and great commandment. It is when a believer has a greater love for someone or something else than for the Lord.
Idolatry is listed in the sins of the flesh in Galatians 5:20:
Galatians 5:20 (KJV)
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
In Colossians 3:5, idolatry is connected to what we use our bodily members for and is identified with covetousness. It starts in our hearts. We begin to crave, search, desire to be satisfied by anything more than God. As one author stated, Idolatry is “an act of loving too much what ought to be loved less.”
Colossians 3:5-6 (KJV)
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
Webster 1828 dictionary defines idolatry as “Excessive attachment or veneration for any thing, or that which borders on adoration.”
Notice in Colossians 3:6 that idolatry and the other sins listed in v. 5, bring God’s wrath upon people because God is a jealous God. God is jealous for us with pure motives, because God made us to be most joyful when he is our greatest desire.
Today, people put face book before spending time with God in the morning. Most Christians spend more time on social media than they do reading God’s Word and/or praying.
Pleasure activities on Sunday mean more to believers than being with God’s people at church and worshipping God on the Lord’s day.
Buying the newest toy, getting the bigger house or the latest vehicle often are at the top of our spending habits and often rob God of His tithes and offerings.
Community involvement with our children often trumps what the local church provides in the way of Biblical instruction for our children. Idolatry today rules and reigns in the lives of many believers.
Because idolatry is so serious to the Lord, He gives us strong words and clear instruction regarding dealing with idolatry in our lives.
May we take God’s instruction regarding idolatry which includes mortifying our members, putting to death our members in reference to anything that would substitute for God or take priority above God, and let us take a 2nd piece of instruction from 1 Corinthians 10:14.
1 Corinthians 10:14 (KJV)
14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
To flee is to run in the opposite direction of. To flee shows that I am fearful of something. One of the Christian’s most healthy fears is to be fearful of committing idolatry. We ought to run from anything that is competing for our allegiance, for our attention, for our love that would remove God from his proper place which is 1st place. Does God have first place in your day? Do you begin your day with God. Does God have first place on His day – Sunday? Do you allow anything to keep you from going to church to be with His people? Does God have first place in your family? Do you pray together? Do you have family devotions together and study God’s Word? Does God have first place in your finances? Do you honor God with the firstfruits of all He gives you (Proverbs 3:9)? Does God have first place in your future (Are you surrendering your future to his will and ways?
What should be a believer’s normal response to an idol in his life?
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 (KJV)
9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
The normal spiritual response to an idol is to turn to God from it and serve God. In a day when idolatry rules the American culture, may believers like you and me be careful and alert to any idol that may grab at our hearts, and may we turn from it immediately. Maybe there is an idol that has worked its way up the ladder in your life that your love for it, your craving for it, your enjoyment of it, your treasuring of it, your time given to it, is more than the love, craving, enjoyment, treasure and time you have for God. Beware! It is time to flee from it!
Lastly, as believers, it ought to stir us up when we see idolatry in the lives of others instead of going with the current of idolatry today.
Acts 17:16 (KJV)
16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
Idolatry seeks to overtake the life of a Christian who is to be wholly dedicated and sold out to God. Notice Paul saw a city wholly given to idolatry.