What's this "idol" thing??

One of my frequent areas of study when I come to the Word is the area of idols and idolatry. There is so much to be said on this subject that I think I could fill a year’s worth of blogs! I think one reason God continually brings me back to it is that (1) it is an area where I need constant reminders and refreshing and (2) it is a common area of struggle for modern day Believers. You see, so many of us think idolatry is a thing of the past, or only in Eastern religions. But, an “idol” is anything we give our hearts to in worship. According to one reference source, an idol “is an object of adoration- somebody (that is interesting!) or something greatly admired or loved, often to excess.” The “often to excess” part is what gets us into trouble!!! We begin to seek after these “things” of the world- work, career, shopping, relationships, food, alcohol, activities, exercise- to satisfy the longings of our heart. We seek gratification in these areas, or go to them when we experience the loneliness of our hearts…. We are deceived into thinking that we will be satisfied by seeking after these pursuits.

Anyway, I have studied this topic because for so much of my life, I sought after idols to fulfill me. For a long time, I used food to comfort me. When I felt overwhelmed by my circumstances, I would turn to food. When I felt lonely, I would turn to food. When I felt upset, I would turn to food. I would “reward” myself with food. I ate in secret. Whew- Proverbs 9:17-18, “Folly cries to us, ‘Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!’ But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of the grave.” Wow! Food “called my name.” I felt out of control with my eating. On the one hand, hating how I looked from overeating, but continuing to turn to food for escape. Uhhh!!!! But, praise God, there is FREEDOM in Jesus Christ! Praise God that He set me free from this area of bondage. I first needed to be honest with myself about turning to something other than God, the Creator of the Universe, my Redeemer, my Savior, my Rock, the Lover of my soul for satisfaction. I continue to press on in this area because I see so many of us as Christians struggling with bondage and bowing down to idols. There is SOOOOOOOO much in the Word about this area.

Of course, the Old Testament is full of passages on idolatry because the Israelites would continually go back to their idols over and over again. God would punish them, bringing them into captivity until they repented, crying out for Him. Then, they would go back to their idols, despite God’s warnings. He loves us so much and wants so much more for us than to follow after false gods- things that will always suck the life FROM us, instead of giving life to us. Think about it. When food was my idol, my health was compromised. I hated how I looked. I felt embarrassed. My clothes didn’t fit. It stole my time- I would continue to go back to the pantry all day long looking for food. (Like it was going to magically appear since the last time I looked??????) And, I would find myself getting behind on household chores because I was spending time on eating or thinking about eating!

But, idolatry is found in the New Testament, also! Jesus talks about idolatry. It is in Paul’s letters and John’s. But, Praise God, we have HOPE and freedom in the New Testament! Because of Jesus, we have freedom from the bondage of idols. We are more than conquerors! We are empowered to be free from idols because we have the Most High God living inside of us! Hallelujah!!!!!

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