Flee Idolatry

Are you guilty of idolatry?

Today many people do not realize they worship idols. Even many who think they are Christians are guilty of idolatry. Idolatry can be very deceptive.

An idol is anything or anyone you:
love more than the Lord,
trust in more than the Lord,
or give more attention to than the Lord.
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

Idolatry gives the worship, honor, and attention God deserves to something or someone else.

The following two verses reveal that anyone who is covetous is an idolater — one who worships idols. Obviously, these are idols of the heart, not literal statues.

5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

An idol, as the following verse from The Living Bible shows, is anything that takes God’s rightful place in your life.

1 JOHN 5:21 TLB
21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. Amen. Sincerely, John

Bad Company
11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person.

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness,
20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Idolaters are listed right along with what we consider bad sinners.

8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in . . . the second death.”

15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

God’s Commands
1 `You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God.

3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.

Anything you put before God is an idol. What may be an idol for you, may not be for others. You are the one who gives an idol its status.

MARK 12:30 NKJ
30 `And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

Do you love entertainment more than you love God? Do you love money more than you love God? Then you are guilty of idolatry.

Your Own Gods
2 KINGS 17:28,29,33 NRSV
28 So one of the priests . . . taught them how they should worship the LORD.
29 But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places…
33 So they worshiped the LORD but also served their own gods . . . .

Do you outwardly worship the Lord, but also serve your own gods?

What do you esteem highly: education, beauty, fame, wealth, strength, wisdom, achievement? Are these your gods? Are you giving your life in their service? Are you willing to sacrifice everything to have them? Then they are your gods.

7 Their land is also full of silver and gold, And there is no end to their treasures; Their land is also full of horses, And there is no end to their chariots.
8 Their land is also full of idols; They worship the work of their own hands, That which their own fingers have made.

Do you worship what you have made or done? Then you are guilty of idolatry.

What do you give your time to: God or other things? What you give all your time and attention to is your god.

Idols are false gods: they do not deserve worship or service as a god.

The last verse of the apostle John’s first letter warns us about idols. Often the last thing someone says is what they consider very important.

1 JOHN 5:21 NKJ
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.

9 . . . you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

Repent! Idolatry is abominable!

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