Friday, September 08, 2006

Are You an Idolator?

During the writing of the New Testament, idolatry was a major concern for many new believers and was a cause for much stumbling among them. Paul and John had much to say regarding the idols and our relationship towards them. The basic summary was to avoid idolatry and any practices associated with them.

While Paul explains clearly that an idol is nothing, he pointed out that behind the idols were demons who received the sacrifices and worship of those serving them. Paul went on to explain that we cannot serve God and the demons at the same time.

While our culture today does not explicity promote the worship of idols, would there not be many things that could be considered part of idolatry?

What are some things you think can lead us into idolatry today? How would you define idolatry? What is the basic premise for avoiding idolatry?

22 comments:

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Patriotism.

Jim said...

ha ha Matthew, yes I think that could definitely be possible.

Don't you have any other examples?

Bhedr said...

If demons can be behind an inordinate object how much more something invisible that affects our senses and controls our moods?

I am one that does not believe that music is neutral.

Jim said...

Hi Brian,

Yes I would agree with you that music is not an amoral arena but definitely one where much of a spiritual nature is expressed.

God bless,
Jim

Daniel said...

"Religion."

A psychologist put several monkeys together in cage - and though he would feed them regularly, each day he would also suspend a banana on a string and drop it through the top of the cage. The first time he did so the monkeys went for it - and immediately as they touched it, he turned a garden hose on all of them. This went on for a few days until one time when he put it in, and as a monkey went for it, another monkey pouned on him screeching. Pretty soon this became the practice - if a monkey went for the bananna - the other monkeys pounced on him with screeching. Then slowly, one by one, he began to replace the original monkeys with new monkeys - monkeys who didn't know about the garden hose - and they would go for the bananna - and be pouned upon. Eventually none of the original monkeys who were hosed down were left in the cage - but all the replacement monkeys were conditioned to attack any monkey who went for a bananna - even though they had no idea why they were doing it.

I think we do this in church far too often. We do things because that is the way we have always done them - and we fail to be critical about them and see if they are biblical or not. When we elevate something above the bible - such as a traditional thing we do in church - we are guilty of idolatry, and perhaps the worst sort - the kind where we are deceived into imagining that our idolatry is actually offering service to God.

Rose~ said...

I love that story illustration that Daniel has given.

What are some things you think can lead us into idolatry today?

I think media - television in particular - does this very powerfully.

Jim said...

Daniel, I think that is one of the most powerful forms of idolatry.

Thanks for that thought provoking story.

God bless,
Jim

Jim said...

Rose,

I would agree...be not conformed to this world or its thinking.

Bhedr said...

Spurgeon had keen insight to what Daniel is saying...but Spurgeon also was careful himself about what he used musically to worship in Church. In our case it would be considered extreme. Spurgeon understood that many people worshiped elocution in so many differing forms.

Even So... said...

Balance and tolerance...

Jim said...

JD, are you saying balance and tolerance lead to idolatry? Or do they help us avoid the same?

Bhedr said...

Good question Jim.

Even So... said...

The desire for B and T above all else is idolatry...

Jim said...

Thanks for the clarification JD, I was a bit concerned over the vagueness of your previous comment.

I agree with you...these two words have been abused to temper the zeal of those who desire to love God with all their hearts and call sin by its right name.

God bless,
Jim

H K Flynn said...

I would say celebrities and sports!
(And, sorry but I would disagree with patriotism. Love for country and a willingness to honor those who have died for its defense is kin to honoring one's father and mother, at least IMO :-)

God bless.

Jodie

Jim said...

Hi Jodie, thanks for your comments. Sports and celebrities are definitely two of the biggest draws in our pop culture these days.

As for patriotism, I believe it must be tempered by a subservient spirit to the Word of God and allegiance to His commands.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

'We know no man after the flesh.'

Joe said...

Idolotry is putting anything ahead of God.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Is idolatry not just making pictures of God or gods and bowing down to them?

H K Flynn said...

I guess you could make idols of your parents tooo, but I like your qualifaications(on patriotism), Jim :)

Jonathan Moorhead said...

I would like to say it is part of my sanctification, but SEC college football tends to be a bit of an idol for me.

Anonymous said...

good points and the details are more precise than somewhere else, thanks.

- Norman