The Bible says our heavenly inheritance is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us when we believed in Jesus Christ (read Ephesians 1:13-14.) So, why does the Bible also tell us that we can lose our inheritance. We will explore this apparent dichotomy in the next few posts. In this post, we will explore why idolatry can cause you to lose your inheritance. The reason I am interested in idolatry is because of how much the 2020 quarantine disrupted our lives, and we had to reevaluate our priorities.
My friend is upset at the notion that he could be an idolater. He said; “Don’t tell me I worship idols; I do not worship or bow down to a created image of an animal or anything else. Idol worship was a problem during the Bible times, though I know some religions worship images and offer sacrifices to them.” Todd then asks me to go to the ball game and that a famous band will be playing during the pregame show. Afterward, he invited me to to go to the Tenth Street bar to watch Wrestle Mania. I said, “No thank you.” To me these were idols that Todd did not realize.
You may not know the many types of idols you are worshiping or trusting in to meet your needs, but we all have idols in our lives. The dictionary defines idolatry as having excessive devotion to or reverence for some person or thing other than God. Some people idolize celebrities. Many people idolize money and fame. Other people idolize their children or grandchildren. Your created image may be different than those in Biblical times, but you still have them.
So, why should we conquer the unseen battles with idolatry? The Bible says idolaters will not go to heaven. Yes, I believe we are saved by faith, but the Bible says in Ephesians 5:5, “For you may be sure of this, that everyone …, who is an idolater has no inheritance in the Kingdom of God.”
In my last post, I asked if you were a sheep or a goat according to Matthew 25. If you hope to enter heaven, you must be a sheep who is a follower of Jesus. So, make sure you do not have unseen idols in your life that distract you from following Him. Just as you were unaware of worldly thinking, you are equally unaware of the idols in your life. God created us to worship Him as our only savior, provider, healer, helper, etc. Because God is a Spirit, and we cannot see or touch Him, so we think we need to replace Him with something physical. Note, you can’t trust the government to take care of you.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE UNSEEN IDOLATRY.
Many people put their hope for security in the material, temporal things of this world, such as money, jobs, investments, homes, education, etc. Some people put their hope for love and acceptance in people, programs, activities, etc. All the things of the world you put your hope in will disappoint you because the Apostle John says in 1John 5:19-21, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” And, John ends his first book with “keep yourself from idols.” Satan’s unseen temptation is to cause you to doubt God exists and trust idols to meet your needs.
Idolatry is evident throughout the world since the beginning of civilization. The first two commandments of the Ten Commandments make it very clear; we are to have no other gods in our lives, yet we do (read Exodus 20). God is jealous for us because He created us to be in a loving relationship with Him, and He wants us to love Him more than anything or anyone else. Luke 10:27 states, “And he (Jesus) answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.‘” Do you love God as described in this verse? What does that look like in your life? What changes do you need to make?
Many people expect other people or possessions to meet their needs and they value and trust them more than the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, I discovered that I depended on my family to make me happy. And, I depended on my job for security. So, when my children grew up and did their own thing outside my control, I became depressed. And when I was laid off from my job, I felt rejected and became despaired because my identity was in what I did. Have you had similar experiences?
How we make ourselves idols.
I even made an idol of myself and wanted everyone to worship and serve me. Be honest or ask God to show how you too want to be worshiped and served. If you are offended when people don’t agree with you, or does or says something you don’t like, it shows you idolize yourself. We idolize ourselves when we think other people should have greater respect for us. This is pride at its best. Observe the prideful behavior of athletes, celebrities, and musicians. By-the-way, God hates pride, because it will keep you from loving and trusting Him. After all, prideful people trust in themselves and love themselves too much. Do you know someone like this?
I will share more in my next post because I have a lot to contemplate from this post. Ask God to show you your idols because we all have them. Determine to be a sheep and follow Jesus, and do not trust or worship anything else.
Grace and peace to you,