Pastor Jeanne Miller
In the early 1980’s a Christian album came out by Dion DiMucci (formerly of Dion and the Belmonts) entitled “I Put Away My Idols”. The title song told how he had come to the Lord and walked away from fame and glory in the world of rock music to live for God. The world of rock music had been his whole life and he had lived for the notoriety, the money, etc., but had no peace or joy in his life.
I’ve always loved the song because it gives a clear picture of what can become idols in our lives even as Christians. The definition of idol in Websters is 1) an image of a god, used as an object or instrument of worship and 2) any object of ardent or excessive devotion or admiration. My definition is anything that takes the place of the true God in your life. In some translations of the Bible, the word “idol” is translated “god”. The true God said we should have no other gods before Him, for He is a jealous God. Yet so often we find ourselves being drawn away from God by seemingly harmless pursuits.
The Old Testament has a lot to say about Israel falling into idolatry. It happened subtly and slowly, not overnight. They were influenced by the nations and people living around and among them. Little by little they were drawn into these nations’ ways of thinking and acting because they didn’t keep their relationship with the Lord the way it needed to be kept. Maybe instead of going to temple one sabbath they were led to spend time with new friends who might find temple objectionable. These occurrences then would increase until finally their walk with their God was greatly affected. We also find the results of being pulled into idolatry written about in the Bible. Israel started fashioning their own gods like the nations around them did out of silver, gold and wood and started attributing the good that came to them to these gods. As a result they failed to receive the promises of God and ended up being scattered throughout the world. Even then Israel didn’t understand that they had fallen into idolatry. God sent prophet after prophet to bring them back but they just didn’t get it!
At different times in my life I have found myself being pulled away from keeping the Lord first place in my life by many things. I have had to work my way back into a close relationship with the Lord. Sometimes relaxing in front of the TV, which is not necessarily wrong, becomes a habit that takes more time than you spend with the Lord. Sometimes personal hobbies can take over your life. Having hobbies is not wrong. Letting them consume your life can be. Even our families can become idols when we allow them to interfere with our walk with God. We are affected by the influences around us whether we like it or not and need to keep a watch on where our hearts are and where they are going. Christians will find themselves too busy to come to church. Maybe they were always in church at one point in their walk with the Lord-Wednesdays, Sundays, every time the church was open. But then something comes along to take away that time-or so they think.
We need to remember that God does not give us any blessing that will draw us away from Him. When we find ourselves not having the time to spend with God because of a “blessing”, know that it did not come from our Heavenly Father. Pro. 10:22 says, “The blessing of the Lord-it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].” This is from the Amplified Bible and I like it because I see so many people toiling to increase what they call the blessing of the Lord. In Deuteronomy it says the blessings of God overtake you. You don’t go looking for them-they find you. These are the true blessings that the Bible talks about. Sometimes the Lord helps you through a situation and that can be seen as being blessed of the Lord but it isn’t the blessing the Bible is talking about. Blessings come totally by surprise and you don’t know they’re coming. This is where I think Christians get confused. They think something the Lord has helped them obtain is a blessing but all too often it becomes a weight around their neck that starts to separate them from God. All of a sudden they don’t have time for church or even personal time with the Lord because of this “blessing”. The “blessing” becomes an idol without them even realizing it.
When you have an idol in your life, the true blessing of God is not there and you find it hard to obtain the promises. Prayers don’t seem to be answered, sickness is not healed. If you find this in your life, go before the Lord and ask Him where the separation is-because it is there. In Jonah 2:8 the Bible says, “Those who pay regard to false, useless and worthless idols forsake their own [Source of] mercy and loving-kindness.”
In I Cor. 10:14 the Amplified Bible says, “Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God).” This counsel was given to Christians by the Apostle Paul so we know it is possible for Christians to fall into idolatry. In I John 5:21 it says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods)-[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life]. Amen (so let it be).”
If we find our relationship with the Lord slipping, we must check our lives for idols that are drawing us away. We are all influenced by what’s around us; what we must do is keep God as the prime influence in our lives. This will insure us that no idols can creep into our lives.