Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Root of Idolatry

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group.
Galatians 5:19-20 NLT

We all struggle with idolatry.  You may think that is a strange thing to say because to you, idolatry may mean a middle eastern religion like Hinduism or Buddhism.  But idolatry is not only bowing to a statue. Idolatry is anything that means more to you than God does.  It shows up in our lives when getting what we want becomes more important that what God wants for us. 
I recently saw a quote that said something like Teach your children contentment because discontentment leads to idolatry. Discontentment is the seed that can lead us down a path of chasing one thing after another to find the contentment we are desperately seeking.  We go to what we know.  If we know that alcohol, or shopping, or drugs, or food will give us the good feeling we want, that is where we go.  Those good feelings only last for a short season and then we have to have more, or we move on to another thing.  This is idolatry because instead we should be turning to God to find relief from discontentment.  The problem is that we don’t know how to turn to God.  In this “quick fix” world we live in we want to feel better …and fast. Seeking contentment in God is not a quick fix but is a lastingfix.  Knowing God and being diligent in our relationship and growth in Him will help us to look to Him first when we feel discontent.  Finding that lasting contentment in Him takes time.  It takes sitting with Him and praying without ceasing. It takes faith over feeling.  
A lot of the issues that counselors face in counseling people are rooted in idolatry because it affects our heart, thoughts, beliefs, desires, mind, will, and emotions.  It is reflected in the choices we make, what we spend money on, and what we spend time on.  If we look at all the areas of our life where we feel discontent, we will realize that weare the common denominator.  Satan is always ready to provide us with anything besides God to make us feel good.  The more he can take our eyes off God, the happier he is.  He wants our hearts and he will work hard to get it.  Idolatry can lead us right into his hands. 
Contentment is the feeling of not needing anything else to make you happy.  Not one more drink, another new pair of shoes, a chocolate cake, a person, or anything else but the presence of God in our lives. Everything goes back to what we know about God.  Our contentment is in direct proportion to our knowledge of God.  When we know Him and know about Him, we know that He is all we ever need and the only thing that will ever bring true and lasting contentment to our hearts. 

Our idolatry takes many forms. Some people idolize money and possessions. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9 NIV

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