Insidious Idols

As the title of this post says, many of our idols today are so sneaky, that we are not even aware that they are indeed  —  idols. In this way they are insidious, just as the adversaries would have it. Let us look more deeply into this real trap. I dare say that today this is the biggest trap for us Christians, our biggest stumbling block to walking upright with our Lord.

Idolatry has been a big problem since the beginning of God’s people. In Ezekiel we read ” Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds; to me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity. Therefore I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it (Ezekiel 36:17-18).

Many think of the term “Idol worship” as some old fashion form of actually bowing down to false gods and such. In reality it is completely different, especially in today’s world. In (Rev.22:14-15) we read the following  ” Blessed are those who do His Commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”

We see from the above that keeping the “Commandments” requires that we not be idolaters. Most of us know that having  promiscuous sex, practicing lying, murder, and practicing sorcery are clear cut and flat out wrong before the Lord. But that sneaky one- idolatry,  can stumble us in ways that we ourselves can be caught unaware. Idols can blind us so well, we are in many case not even aware of it!

As many of you who follow this blog are aware, the Lord is about to select His 144,000 servants to proclaim the final Loud Cry. The real difference , I believe,  is that His true servants realize perfectly the whole idol trap and keep themselves free from it. For they have made an effort to free themselves of his ( the devil’s) snares.

Let’s look at one of the most obvious idol traps — television.  Do you watch worldly television daily or several times each week day? Do you come home from work and mindlessly turn on the TV and watch for  hours every night?  If your answer is yes, then you have likely been snared by the TV idol trap.

Here’s a good way to know if something is an idol to you. How much time do you spend weekly in the Lord’s work? Study, sharing the Lord with friends or family, prayer, reading His holy word? Ok, if TV or anything else takes up more of your time than the Lord’s work, you have a more enjoyable god you serve. “For where your treasures lie, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). Make no mistake,  our idol worship  is noticed by our Lord.

In my own life, TV was one of the last idols to leave. Growing up  as a typical TV and music idol worshiper(sports, entertainment shows, car radio on every day, etc.), I just couldn’t see it as “bad”.  “The Lord doesn’t really care if I practice TV watching or listen to worldly music, as long as I read the Bible now and then and show up for Sabbath services, I’ll be fine” was my deluded thinking.

 But you know what? If someone would have said  that I was a TV or music  idol worshiper, I would have said “yeah right, get real”. It was only until I started putting my time into the Lord’s work and forsaking worldly desires, by sincerely wanting to do the Lord’s will, that I could then see clearly that yes it was an idol!

Does this mean we should never watch  television? No, not necessarily. Certainly we can get  some good from TV. Inspirational, educating, news and such can be good. But as we pointed out, once it starts to fill a gap in your life that should be towards the Lord’s work, you’ve shown Him where your desires really are. With time being so short and His workers being in short supply, we cannot have any excuses.

One of the most important prayers we should do frequently, is to ask the Lord to help show us where we are wrong in  our walk.  I continue to do this, even though I have tossed much sin out of my life. We need to continue to look to Him for help and guidance.

Once you pray this prayer and do it will all your heart, He will be faithful to show you. You’ll start to feel more and more guilt on something that you are doing that is dis-pleasing to Him.

Think about it, with so many now in His church, about 16 million, how is it that He can only use 144,000 as His servants when the gospel message swells into a Loud Cry? I truly believe much of the blame can be traced to idol involvement. “Only those who have withstood and overcome temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming this message when it shall have swelled into the Loud Cry” (Review and Herald , Nov. 19, 1908).  If we don’t overcome our idols now, we shall not be around to partake of the Loud Cry message– straight and solemn indeed! Our Lord is not playing around my friends.

Again EGW points out how  serious the worldly treasures (idols) are to many. “I asked the angel why so few were interested in their eternal welfare, so few preparing for their last change. Said he ‘ Earth attracts them, it’s treasures seem of worth to them.’  They find enough to engross the mind, and have no time to prepare for heaven…such will have no excuse” (Test. for the Church, vol. 1,p.132)

Our Lord said we must be born again, and that means all things become new. When we make the effort to convert and live as He would have us, then we see clearly each and every stumbling block.

There can be other idols of course, such as music, hobbies, or even your job. Obsessing about making more money and attending to business too much can clearly snag us. Let me give another example of an  idol today that has come into people’s lives–the computer.

This snag certainly is insidious to God’s people today. Chatting away for hours on worldly matters, gossiping,  playing games, searching worldly desires and such on the computer has taken so much of our time each and every week, it has established itself as nearly as bad an idol as TV is.   Of course if we are on it  much of the time doing the Lord’s work, then it can serve His purpose. Paul says in first Corinthians ” All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but I will not be enslaved by anything” (1 Cor.6:12)  We do anything (apart from the Lord’s work) too much we can become enslaved.

One point that shows that our Lord doesn’t leave one thing untouched. Guess how many times the word “idol” is used in the whole Bible? 666 –according to this source- Answers.com* (-Note-  this number appears contradicted by other sources, but it’s safe to say it’s in the hundreds of times, indicating it’s supreme importance to us.)

In closing, our Lord said “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be His God and he shall be My son” (Rev. 21:7) One of the greatest obstacles we must over come is that one snare that can sneak up upon us  — the  insidious idols.

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