Berean Lamp Devotional 49 - Every High Thing
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).
Few concepts in the Western Church today are more difficult to understand than Idolatry. This may be because most of the Scriptural passages concerning idolatry are in reference to statues made of wood, stone, or gold that people bowed down to and worshiped in temples. As a result many Christians in the west have a tendency to dismiss idolatry as an “old” world problem that only persists with the “old” religions of India, Japan, and Africa.
Yet, physical idols are more than just representations of divinities to be worshiped—they represent world views, enshrine life-teachings, and justify “desirable” practices under the oversight of religious institution. Baal worship, for example, was a promotion of every unclean sexual lust, under the “cover” of a societal institution—child sacrifice being the solution for the “unintended” consequence of this behavior. People honoring Baal, spent their livelihood supporting an organization in order to legitimize the ungodly lusts sanctioned by it. This false teaching was openly mixed with the worship of God, yet Israelites who honored Baal still claimed to be God’s people. God left no room for this “double-mindedness” when He commanded them to “love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). All doesn’t mean “mostly.”
God cares what we are devoting our lives to—what we honor with our time, money, energy, desires, and thought life. Many Christians hear the words of God, but delude themselves with reasons and excuses to avoid giving up the idols they hold dear in their lives.
What is an idol, then? A life-style, money, a person, a dream—anything in our lives that we prioritize before God and His word. Anything we do or don’t do knowing God says differently is idolatry, for “insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:23a), including partial compliance with God’s commands. Idolatry is honoring “something” as much or more than God. We honor by giving our time, our money, our energy, and our obedience—by being “alive” to something, “therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry” (Colossians 3:5)—death means no longer responsive to the world. This is not always easy for us because we often come alive to old habits and desires as we walk God’s road of sanctification, yet, “no temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:13-14). How do we flee from idolatry? How do we deal with the temptations that try to gain entrance into our hearts and minds? By “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV). We are to hide nothing from Jesus, and our members must be completely alive to Him. Jesus must be our closest friend, always present, to whom we share everything. He must be foremost in our hearts and minds so that whatever we think about, He is there, present with us, and we give it over to Him, so that “whether, then, you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Amen.