The Practice Of Idolatry
To the average person, the idea of practicing idolatry seems foreign. Why would anyone do such a foolish thing, especially a Christian. Well, the problem is, we are all practicing only idolatry when we come into the faith. That is our nature from birth, our fleshly nature, to worship or pursue other gods, the gods of this world, the flesh and the devil. Our baptism is our commitment to abandon all idolatry, our old nature, and set the image of the Lord Jesus Christ before our eyes, only worshiping Him by our obedience and faith.
Idolatry is practicing any of the deeds of the flesh, including the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. The Holy Spirit will use the gospel, the simple commands of Jesus, to do away with the deeds of the flesh, if we submit to Him and obey. When we subject ourselves to others, by obeying the gospel, and it puts to death the old nature, the flesh, and we are being constantly being transformed into His image and likeness.
God is a jealous God and He wants us to only love Him. The way God removes idols, the things we value or cling to in our heart, is to send the reapers to take them, or to touch them, and show us how much we love them. When we humble ourselves, and allow them to take something we value, the idol is removed from our heart. Read the gospel. That is what Jesus said. Sorry, but this is God’s way of cleansing us from all unrighteousness, our idols we own, living in our heart. As we cling to them, it shows how much we love them, rather than God.
All sins in the heart are idols, and by keeping them, we practice idolatry. For example, bitterness. When we are hurt by someone, we are offered an idol of first; unforgiveness, then resentment, and finally bitterness. If we forgive, we are freed from slavery to these idols, our strongholds, and we are truly free from that slavery, in Christ. Christ forgave us and we are required as disciples to forgive those sinning against us. This is only one of many of our idols.
When Israel came out of Egypt, they became tired of Moses and made a calf, a god or idol, and began to worship it, rejoicing in the works of their hands. So also we, having not gone the way of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, have made many works of our hands we’re proud of, anything that takes us away from pursuing Him, like prosperity and success. We worship them, boast in them, our gods today. They become our very identity, rather than the identity of Christ.
God is revealing it to us who believe, so we can turn away from our idols and serve the living God, according to His gospel. If only we can have ears to hear, or we will never enter in to the land promised, His image and likeness. This is why most will never enter, not wanting to give us this world, and the things of this world.
“Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40SAYING TO AARON, ‘MAKE FOR US GODS WHO WILL GO BEFORE US; FOR THIS MOSES WHO LED US OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT—WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM.’ 41“At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. Acts 7:39-41
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.8But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another (manifesting the old nature), since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
10and have put on the new self (the image and likeness of Christ) who is being renewed (transformed daily) to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all (in our earthly body as we walk).
12So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Col 3:5-14
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (the new creation, Christ formed in you). Gal 5:19-21
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 13No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man (common in the testing and trials sent to transform you); and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able (but always what you are able), but with the temptation will provide the way of escape (by obeying the gospel) also, so that you will be able to endure it (and be transformed through it). 14Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry (our strongholds, the deeds of the flesh). 1Cor 10:12-14
You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols (other gods of your old nature), however you were led. 1Cor 12:2
Do not be bound together with unbelievers (by sharing in their idols); for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16Or what agreement has the temple of God (you with Christ living in you) with idols (the gods or idols of the flesh and the world)? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“I WILL DWELL IN THEM (Christ formed in you) AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. 17“Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE (no longer pursue the world or the old nature),” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN (the other gods or idol in our hearts); And I will welcome you.
18“And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me (adopted as sons),” Says the Lord Almighty. 2Cor 6:14-18
For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you (manifesting the gospel of love), not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything (because you are living the gospel of Christ). 9For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for His Son from heaven (to be formed in you), whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us (by transforming us into His image) from the wrath to come (when He comes with His reapers to test us). 1Thes 1:8-10
We know that no one who is born of God sins (practices sin, the old nature); but He who was born of God keeps him (by us abiding in Him, His abode), and the evil one does not touch him (because we are under His wings, in His image, our refuge). 19We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (because they have the other gods/idols in their heart). 20And we know that the Son of God has come (Christ formed in us), and has given us understanding so that we may know Him (the true God living in us) who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life (eternal life is Him manifesting in us). 21Little children, guard yourselves from idols (the other gods of our old nature). 1Jn 5:18-21
‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols (take to heart the idols or gods of the flesh, our old nature) and to commit acts of immorality (like adultery, loving the world and things of the world). Rev 2:14