A certain event that took place in my life made me realize how desperately ensnared I was by idolatry. Although the event was brief, it affected me intensely and immensely, opening my eyes to so many other issues of idolatry in my life. When I look around today, I see the major problem of idolatry everywhere, mainly revolving around material. However, things of immaterial nature, such as personalities, can be massively powerful idols as well. In this book, I would like to take a brief glimpse at this grotesque and prominent problem on earth today.
If you are looking for deep theology, philosophy, or sophisticated doctrine, then you might not find them in this book. My belief is that it is not the special degrees or certifications that bring one closer to the Lord Jesus Christ (although they can be very beneficial or even crucial, in some instances), but the relationship you have with Him. What brings you into His presence is your genuine and sincere worship of Him (Isaiah 29:16). A humble heart allows room for revelation from God's Spirit, Who gives us true knowledge that leads to godliness.
The extreme importance of being informed on the severity of idolatry in our modern culture is grossly disbelieved by our modern culture, even though the first of the Ten Commandments reads, “You shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:3 NKJV) A "god" is a ruler, or judge. In the ancient days they were thought to have divine powers. We know, however, that no stone or wood or clay has any sort of divine power. However, think on this: is there anything in your life that rules the way you spend your time and energy? Is there anything in your life that dictates the way you think and what you set your mind on? No theological degrees are needed to answer that question, isn't that so? While no degrees are required for you to answer this question, raw honesty is.
Apropos, there is nothing more honest than the Word of God, which says, “Take heed to yourselves, lest your minds and hearts be deceived and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them..." (Deuteronomy 11:16 AMP) Such a deception would be most devastating, but not uncommon. One definition for "worship" is this: "intense love or admiration". Is there a "god” that has stolen your intense love and admiration, while God the Father, Who loved you so much that He sent His own Son to die for you personally, was left in the cold shadows of casual afterthought? If you are like most people today, and you answer this question with raw honesty, the answer is "yes". Even though it is a sad answer, a sad and truthful answer will move us forward, unlike even the happiest, yet untruthful answer.
What grieves me most is that we allow ourselves to be seduced by the "gods" of this world, whose master is satan, as written, “In their case the god (satan) of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers..." (2 Corinthians 4:4 NRSV- word in parenthesis added) The world is in serious trouble, if we are to believe the Word. As you very well know, we have delved deep into the sin of idolatry from which stem a vast and horrific array of other sins. Idolatry is the enemy's way of mocking and disrupting the order that God has set from the beginning. Our primary and essential purpose here on this world is to worship God. The enemy of God had twisted the mind of man, beginning with Adam and Eve, and averted mankind's worship to false gods---idols of material and even immaterial. Anything but God is fair game for the enemy.
This devious plan of the enemy is all but troubling, maybe even terrifying for some, but our disposition needs to be: what can we do about it? We can start by applying the Word of God, which says, “Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols." (1 Corinthians 10:14 NRSV)
We will endeavor now to search our hearts and find those roots of idol worship that have been robbing us of our joy in the Lord. If we persevere, we can dig up those roots, and upon exposure they become vulnerable. Their exposure is the first step in fighting them—we cannot fight what our mind does not see (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). Once we do see, though, the power of Jesus Christ of Nazareth can easily eradicate these roots if we genuinely believe in Him and rely solely on Him for strength and understanding. The more we lean on ourselves, the less of a chance there will be for daily victories.
Many take comfort in the awesome fact that Jesus has obtained the ultimate victory, and I would encourage more people to do that. At the same time, many of us do not accept the victories He gave us for our daily battles. Daily struggles are the most relentless and persistent thieves which rob us of joy. Jesus did not only give us the ultimate victory, but victory for every day of our lives. He taught us to pray, “Give us our daily bread...” Why do we limit Him to waiting for us at the finish line when we can walk with Him each day? Will you come with me, friend, and see `where the Lord will lead us?
Now that our endeavor has begun, I would like to make a few notes about my sources. I have attempted to use the books of the Bible that most people are familiar with, and some of the translations which I use include the KJV, NKJV, NRSV, NAB, BBE, YLT and the AMP. Concerning references outside of the typical Christian Bible, the Book of Enoch is an interesting source of information concerning times before the Great Flood which Noah survived, and talks much about idolatry; I, however, chose not to use the Book of Enoch due to its wavering credibility in the theological world. This is not to discourage anyone from reading it, but simply my personal choice. I understand the sensitive nature of version-preference these days amongst English-speaking people; I encourage you to reference your favorite, or preferred, version for deeper studying, and never make a foundational decision without praying to the Lord, first. Additionally, I also reference passages from the Book of Wisdom, and the Book of Sirach. These two books can be difficult to find in many popular translations, but not impossible, nevertheless. I use a couple of translations to reference these two books, which are the New American Bible and also the New Revised Standard Version. Based on personal preference, I mainly used the NRSV translation for quoting the Book of Wisdom and the Book of Sirach.
Our layout looks something like this:
1. Where did idols come from? (see "Modern-Day Idolatry: A Thing of Normality (Chapter 1))
2. Why did people make idols? (see "Modern-Day Idolatry: A Thing of Normality (Chapter 2))
3. How are idols still made today?
4. How big is this problem?
5. How does idolatry affect a Christian?
6. How do we recognize an idol?
7. How do we stop worshiping idols?