Are you unknowingly an idolater? This is the fifth post on unseen idolatry. The first post explains why practicing idolatry will cause you to not enter the kingdom of heaven and how to recognize your idolatry. The second post shows you how people become idols and how you please them out of fear of loss, but why you are to fear God. The third post explains how to break worldly soul ties that control you long after a relationship is over, and how you can find a friend who is devoted to God. In the fourth post, I exposed the problem with getting your identity and self-worth from people and money instead of God. In this post, I will show you the idols you set up to satisfy your earthy needs and sinful flesh.
Colossians 3:5 tells us to, “Put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passions, evil desires, and covetousness (greed), which is idolatry.” The New American Standard Version says, “Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to….” Something dead no longer exists. So, if you put to death the earthly passions described in Colossians 3:5, then they will no longer exist for you to serve them. Remember, an idol is something you are devoted to and serve, expecting something good in return, but only get disappointment.
Living by the Spirit of God helps you put to death your earthly passions. To live by the Spirit is to yield your life to God and be led by Him. Romans 8:13 states, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” And Galatians 5:16 states, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” To walk in the Spirit means yielding to His control through prayer, and allow Him to exert His influence over you. It is the Spirit of God in you who helps you put to death your sinful passions. Read my post called How The Spirit Gives Life. To learn more about how to walk in the Spirit go to https://www.gotquestions.org/Spirit-walk.html
Idolatry of Fleshly Desire
So, how can fleshly desires be idols in your life? Your fleshly desires are self-focused sins that demand you please your sense. Sin is disobedience of God’s perfect will for you. Pray and ask God to show if you have idols of sensual pleasures in your life. For example, a person with sexual sins may have a pornography addiction that controls them. Someone who idolizes possessions may have a problem coveting other peoples’ belongings or has an addiction to wanting things. Hoarding falls under this addiction. A person who hasn’t died to impurity may watch R-rated movies or afternoon soap operas. People with evil desires may hold on to grudges and wish harm to the people who have done them wrong.
Earthly passions are vises the devil uses to control you and causes you to sacrifice your dignity, peace, and self-control to satisfy your sensual pleasure. For example, you have an earthly desire to go to the bars. The vise of alcohol becomes your idol, and you will sacrifice everything to it. This vise causes you to lose self-control and get drunk and then you sacrifice your dignity and fall into all forms of temptations. Satan uses your vise for alcohol to bring destruction in every area of your life.
Do you see how fleshly sins are demanding and never satisfied? One drink never satisfies the idol of alcohol. One purchase never satisfies a person who gets pleasure from shopping. A person who needs affirmation to feel good about themselves is never satisfied with just one affirming word. If you see you have an idol in your life, humbly acknowledge it and ask God to help you overcome it by loosing the unhealthy beliefs and evil spirit attachments in Jesus’ name.
The key to overcoming unseen idols is to give your life to God’s control and flee the temptations to give in to your earthly passions to satisfy sensual pleasures. 1Corinthians 10:14 states, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” When you see the word “therefore”, it refers to an earlier thought. The previous verse is 1Corinthians 10:13, which says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is human (common to man); but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able. But with the temptation, He will also make the way out, so that you may be able to bear (endure) it.” Idolatry tempts you to not believe in a faithful God who wants to help you? Next time you are tempted, look up and seek God’s help to show you the way out, then walk by His Spirit’s control.
Idolatry of Needs
The devil will persuade you to doubt God’s willingness and ability to provide what you need. Needs vary from person to person, but some basic emotional needs are to feel loved, accepted, respected, significant, secure, approved, happy, needed, and protected. Satan puts doubts (lies about God) in your mind that God will meet your needs. When the devil causes doubt, he tempts you to turn to self-gratifying idols of people and things to satisfy your needs. However, trusting God and obeying Him is the key to having victory over all the temptations of the demonic forces at work against us. Also, when you are abiding with God, you will have all your needs met and everlasting blessings, love, acceptance, joy, and peace.
Another temptation is to distrust God and act independently of Him. When you distrust or doubt, you believe lies or half-truths about God and His ability to give you what you need. Eve fell into this trap when she was tempted in the Garden of Eden. Doubts cause you to worry that God will not take care of you. As a result, you try to live independently of God, trusting instead in idols to meet your needs. The best way to eliminate idols is to memorize the promises and truths found in God’s Word and to trust Him to meet your needs. Then loose/put off the sin of rebellion.
Grace and peace,