The depth of the Bible never ceases to amaze me. The more you dig, the more you find. I pray for God to bless me with wisdom and understanding when I dive into Bible reading. I also go to Bible based speaking events, classes and attend a Bible based church which further assists my understanding. It was at a weekly class that I found myself with one of those beautiful, jaw dropping, AHA moments that I would like to share with you.
The subject was idolatry. Instantly (silently) I thought… Ok, well this won’t really pertain to me, I don’t worship idols. I don’t have statues, images or sacred pillars that I bow down to. (Leviticus 19:4, 26:1, Exodus 20:1-8) I figured I would sit for the hour respectfully, nod my head with what I already knew and visit with my friends after. So, all and all- it would still be an awesome evening.
But, God. Yes, God. God had other plans for me that night. He wanted to open my mind and bless me with a deeper understanding... an understanding I desperately needed. at one point the speaker simply said, “Idolatry is ANYTHING that you put before God.” Wait…What? But what about the statues? What about Exodus and Leviticus? As she went on, I began to understand.
Yes, worshiping actual idols is a form of idolatry. These man-made idols were a very real problem among the people back then, and though not as prevalent, they are still around today. But Jesus (and subsequently the apostles) gave us a deeper understanding of what God views as idolatry and it is SO much deeper. (Colossians 3:5 Ephesians 5:5)
The Bible assures us that God truly wants us to have an enjoyable life. He wants us to find joy and be fruitful. (Psalm 37:4, Genesis 1:28-29) But, when we put our pursuits in front of Him, we have a situation that needs to be addressed. Idolatry can creep up and sneak in and before we know it, we aren’t praying as much, reading the Bible and spending time with God because we allowed ourselves to get caught up with the busyness of life. All of the sudden, God is an afterthought and we are disconnected from Him.
I found this happening with me some time ago. I used to not let anything come before my prayer time and morning Bible reading. I got up early to be up before anyone else, so it was uninterrupted time for just me and God. Then I fell in love with running. Well as you may know, running is easiest first thing in the morning. So, I tried to rearrange my schedule and fit God in the afternoon. Needless to say, before I knew it- I was reading the Bible here and there and not praying as much. It happened so subtly. When I heard this message being spoken, I knew exactly where my sin of idolatry was happening.
God wasn’t mad at my running. God wasn’t even mad at me. Jesus sacrifice covered my sin the moment I noticed it, acknowledged it and repented. My loving Father had simply given me a gentle reminder and deeper understanding of how putting Him first truly is the ONLY way. Guess what? I still run and I am better than ever! But I put God back to the top of my priority list. I made a slight adjustment and am blessed for that.
Remember: Idolatry begins when you lose sight of Christ. Maybe you could pause and ask yourself if there is anything in your life that you are putting first that is causing an imbalance with your relationship with God. This is not to be condemning. This is just a gentle reminder to stay aware and adjust where necessary. You will be blessed for choosing to always put God first. (Matthew 6:33)