How much do you love and think about money, your job, your car, your house, your significant other, and anything else you may hold in high regard? Now compare that with how much you love God and how much time you spend with Him. If God doesn’t win in the comparison, that is idolatry—Valuing and putting anything before God. How do you know if you’re putting things before God? How much time do you give God vs. the time you spend doing everything else? How often do you talk to Him vs. talking to everyone else? How often do you think about what He thinks of you and whether or not you’re pleasing Him vs. How much you try to please your own self or others? In general, do you truly have a RELATIONSHIP with Him, not just merely “believing”? Remember, relationships are built on communication……
Let’s just be real for a minute…America has become a dangerously idolatrous nation. Look around. Everything is about money, lust/sex, material possessions, power, and pride..and God takes a backseat to all of these and more. Our country has tried to push God out of EVERYTHING, then somehow gets the nerve to bring Him to the forefront to blame Him for the problems we, as a nation, brought on ourselves…classy, right?
In Exodus 20:3, God gave the commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before ME.” Meaning, God comes first. Nothing is more important than Him. He didn’t just mean the other false gods that were being worshipped back in that time, but nothing PERIOD should come before Him. We are commanded to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and might. How can we accomplish that if we treat other things or people as being more important than Him? Jesus said, in Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” The word “hate” here doesn’t mean actual hate like we would mean it because He instructs us to love one another. “Hate” here means to love less. If you don’t love everything in your life less than God, you can’t truly follow after Him.
Let’s hit on some of the things that we value and place above God in our daily lives. The most prominent thing would be money, and I doubt many would disagree. A lot of people misquote Scripture when they say, “Money is the root of all evil.” Money itself isn’t evil. What the Bible actually says, in 1Timothy 6:9-10, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Did you catch that? Money itself isn’t the root of evil..the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Why? Because when people become obsessed with it, they begin to do unholy and sinful things to obtain and maintain it. As it was back then, so it is today. And we see that coveting, which is also a form of idolatry (Colossians 3:5)and being obsessed with money causes people to stray from their faith in God. Take a look at the world around us. Money is the major focal point, and look what it’s doing to us. People are being killed for money, women and children are being sold into modern day sexual slavery for money, children are being sexually exploited and involved in child pornography, women sell their bodies, our communities are being poisoned and killed by druglords/dealers making profit off of someone’s sickness/habit—essentially being blood money, politicians and people in high positions are embezzling money and misspending taxpayers’ money, the rich want to get richer as they watch the middle class crumble, and I can go on and on. All of this because people love money more than they love God, so they definitely love money more than they love people.
Now, sex is probably second place to money. Like money, sex in and of itself isn’t sinful, but the nature in which it’s performed causes it to be sin. The Bible makes it plain in MANY different scriptures that sex is only for marriage and that fornication, sex outside of marriage, and adultery, sex with a married person who is not your own spouse, are very much unacceptable behaviors in God’s eyes. You can try to twist it how you want or find whatever ways you want to make it not be a sin to you, but that won’t change what it is in God’s eyes. When you misuse God’s intent for sex, you’re exalting His creation above Him, the Creator. The improper and immoral use for sex is EVERYWHERE. You can’t step out of your house, turn on the tv, or listen to the radio without hearing something of a sexual nature. And look at where we’ve gotten by misusing and abusing sex and making it more important than God. So many of our teenagers are unwed parents, our world is riddled with STD’s, AIDS alone has killed millions and millions of people, rape and sexual violence are at all time highs, and the list goes on. When we take something that God gave us and we use it in the wrong way, the results are ALWAYS going to be detrimental. It’s odd that something that yields a few moments of pleasure is causing untold amounts of pain and suffering. I know sex is a hard one for people to give up because it’s glorified and glamourized in this life, but why would the devil tempt you with something he knew you didn’t like? People like sex, that’s why it’s such an easy tool for the enemy to use to entrap and ensnare you and keep you from obeying God. Anything that leads you astray from the knowledge of God is likely to destroy you, but God will provide you deliverance if you ask Him for it. You have to seek Him wholly and trust in Him. Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to be held by the bonds of sin.
1Corinthians 6:13-15 “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.”
1Corinthians 7:2-“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”
Ephesians 5:3-“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints..”
I only hit on a couple of things that cause us to be idolatrous, but there are plenty. Just think, how much of your money, material possessions, or sexual delights can you take with you after die? Your money stays here, your car stays here, your jewelry stays here, the pornography stays here, your sex partners stay here (until it’s their turn to go). We put all this focus on things that mean absolutely nothing when we leave this earth, but yet we put God, the Almighty who will judge us at the end, in the background, wanting nothing to do with Him if He disapproves of the sinful activities that we enjoy participating in. That right there means you’re exalting YOURSELF above God..being prideful. Nothing is constant but God. Don’t try to store riches on this earth because they’ll all pass away and become nothing. Start storing your treasures up in heaven. Any reward God gives you is greater than any reward you can have here on earth. Does God want us to live lives where we’re poor and lacking, and barely surviving? No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. Deuteronomy 8:17-20 tells us that it is the Lord thy God that giveth thee power to get wealth, but if you forget Him and put other things before Him, you and your wealth will perish. He wants us to live good lives, but to HIS glory, not for our own. In regards to worrying about how your needs will be supplied, how you’ll eat, and be clothed, Jesus tells us not to take thought of it. He tells us that God takes care of the plants and the animals, so wouldn’t He even more want to take care of us, His children, who He places above the plants and animals? Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” God knows what we need and what we desire, and He’ll give them to us if we seek after Him, to do His will, and to please Him. Anything outside of Him and that you exalt above Him will give you disastrous results every time.
…Seek ye first the kingdom of God…