By Pastor Taiwo Bolodeoku
In Exodus 20:1, God was making it clear to the children of Israel that he brought them out of Egypt. Idolatry is spiritual sin. To serve God you must love him with your heart, soul and spirit; idolatry is shifting your heart, soul and spirit to another god (Deuteronomy 4:24, Matthew 22:37).
Favour obligates. We are loyal, to a degree, to those who do us favours or help us. We accord them respect, honour and even defer to them sometimes. Christ has done so much for us that we should be beholden to Him forever, but to most of us, the sacrifice on the cross has become ‘normal’.
An idol is anything that you have put before God. It could be your career or your mobile phone.
Idolatry is one great sin that other sins come from. The other commandments come from the first and second commandments. When you love money more than God, it becomes so important that your heart is all focused on money. We can have desires to be successful, but if the first thing you have to do in the morning is to confirm that transaction before you say a word to God then you need to check it. Idolatry is an insult to God; no man or woman wants to share their wife or husband, so God does not want to be shared. Spirituality is a matter of commitment.
Are we really different from the Israelites in Psalm 106:19-20? What is always on your mind, a team that wins a championship, a house we are constantly upgrading, a corner office we are constantly striving for? These things can become your golden calf.
Some of the things that we do are not exactly bad, their identities don’t usually have the identities of spirituality (Is it bad to love soccer?) but they take control of our hearts. If you have a gambling problem, stay away from the casino, or make it harder to access your account.
What really disappoints you? Have you thought that our disappointments are God’s way of reminding us?
What do you complain about the most? If you constantly complain about your financial situation, it has become your god. If you constantly complain about sex in your marriage, sexual pleasure has become a god. If you constantly complain about people in your office not respecting you and have become so upset or in a mood, you have created a self-recognition god.
Whining and complaining shows us what has power of us. Whining and complaining are the opposites of worshiping God, because worshiping God is glorifying him for who he is and what he has done while whining and complaining is ignoring who God is and what he has done.
Audit your account; where does money constantly go? Shoes, bags they have become little gods.
God says you cannot substitute him for anything else (Romans 8:38-39). We stop our prayer to pick up a call from that lady or that man or our moods are focused on something else as we pray or worship God (Mathew 15:8).
God demands our loyalty. There is nothing wrong with these things ordinarily, but when we put them in place of or before God, they become idols. If you put anything before God, He gets jealous. How do we know or identify these idols?
If we thank God and give Him glory for the things He does, we will receive more blessings. The god of success has become a principality in the lives of many. But we need to remember that nothing is great except by grace. We should not hog the glory for anything.
The god of Romance
Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ. Know that God is God. Whatever comes before God in your life is an idol. If you cannot eat or sleep until that person calls you, then there is a problem. Who do you sacrifice the most for? Who is it that completes you? What we sacrifice the most for has the highest potential to be God in our lives.
The covenant between God and Abraham was sealed in his obedience, his willingness to sacrifice Isaac.
Is there a relationship in your life that determines whether you are happy, sad or upset?
Are you disappointed in your love life? Who do you sacrifice the most for? Who is it that completes you? Is your life incomplete because you haven’t found that special someone? When we look to someone else to complete us, it is idolatry. We are supposed to love our family and loved ones, but we must put God first. If you truly love someone, it is better to put God before them, or else, God will take them away. Some people have made their spouses or partners their god. Romans 12:1-2 Do not get carried away; serve God and put Him alone first.
The god of Me/Self.
Arrogance is one of the symptoms of this disease. This god does not listen to the wisdom of others or like being corrected. They find it difficult to apologize. Don’t discount or look down on anyone because of their current situation or circumstance.
The god of Success
What drives your motivation for success? Is it your glory or God’s? Are you motivated because of those who you want to show off to? True success is hearing Jesus say to you, ‘well done, good and faithful servant’. He measures success by faithfulness and obedience to the scriptures. How often do you find yourself envying successful people? Give God the glory when you see someone else succeed. Psalm 84:11 Revelations 5:6 Envy is a work of the flesh. You don’t need to have things to praise God or come to church in time. Praise God at all times, good or bad.
The god of Money (Mammon)
Matthew 6:24 How often do you compare what you have and what you make to others’? Is money all that excites you? To what extent are your dreams and goals driven by money? What is your attitude towards giving? If the god of money (mammon) isn’t ruling your life, you will find it easy to give. Ecclesiastes 5:10 Money doesn’t bring true happiness. Do an audit of your expenses for a month and see how much has gone to the things of God.
The god of Achievement
Personal achievement is a powerful idol in our culture. There is nothing wrong with achievements; they can be acts of worship that glorify God. But when our lives are all about getting these things done, and we find that we don’t have much room for God, then they have become idols. Sometimes, we get busy with the work of God, and forget the God of the work. Sometimes, we get the idea that what we achieve is who we are, and that determines our value and justifies our existence. Your achievement does not determine your identity; God has made you fearfully and wonderfully. Why do you do what you do?
Idols are defeated, not by being removed, but by being replaced.