When I say the word, “idol,” what do you think of? I really hope you don’t say something along the lines of “American pop singer.” Okay, that was a bad reference to the television show that has long over-run its course. (I make terrible jokes!)
So back to our word, “idol.” Do you get an image of a golden calf as referenced in the book of Exodus. Perhaps you get a vision of some other effigy or statue. Or maybe, in our times, we are able to recognize modern idols, such as money, wealth, and material possessions.
Food For Thought
Many times when I share a study here on the blog, it is something that I am working on personally, as well. I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “idolatry” referenced in Colossians 3, verse five. I’ve always wondered if all the things listed are considered idolatry, or if it is specifically the word “greed” that proceeds idolatry in the sentence.
In my studies, I often begin with a word definition. When looking up the word idolatry, I was first given, “the worship of idols.” This wasn’t much help because I already knew that. The second definition of idolatry was more descriptive: “extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone.” Now we’re getting somewhere. If I want to abolish something, like idolatry, I first have to recognize what it is I’m getting rid of.
I think we probably all agree that idolatry is wrong. God warns against it in the Old Testament by commanding, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness…You shall not bow down to them or serve them…” (Exodus 20:3-4; ESV). We are given similar directive in the New Testament when we are told to put idolatry to death, like in the passage of Colossians 3:5.
I don’t know any Christians that are making golden calves or statues to worship in their homes or even putting carved images on an altar to revere as God. That’s too easy, we’re obviously not going to fall for those old tricks. But if you think idolatry is a thing of the past, well, you’re wrong.
We all have things, me included, that can take on the role of idol, if we give it the chance. And Satan is good at trickery. He can take something innocent, even something God Himself created, and turn it into a tool of idolatry.
I love nature and would spend every day of my life climbing mountain trails and hanging out by waterfalls. Seriously, that is my idea of heaven! But I have to be very careful that I keep my worship on the Creator and not the beautiful things He created. I say this because there have been moments when I have said, “I’d do anything to get to move to the mountains.” Then there’s the times I skipped out on worship at church sso I could go “worship in the mountains,” aka, go hiking, instead! Those are dangerous words, as Satan latches hold of our desires and begins to manipulate something as good into something we put our sole focus on, leaving God behind.
It’s hard, because what seems like an innocent desire, or goal, for me, has led to bickering and whining with my husband and child, all because of my “admiration, love, and reverence” for mountain life. These feelings have led to envy and jealousy and bitterness. Anything that takes my focus of God and serving Him can become an idol for me. I have to take hold of my thoughts and realign my focus, not on the earthly goal, however beautiful it may be, and set my sights back on God and the Heavenly goal.
If you were to look closely and examine your thoughts, would you have some idols that need to be put to death?
When I think of idols in the Bible, I immediately think of the Old Testament and the golden calf. I also recall in the Ten Commandments that it states directly to have no idols. Besides not carving a graven image to worship, stated in the second commandment, the commandments also state “no other gods” and “protect my name.” These are clear directions given to the Israelites from God Himself, via Moses, warning them to worship no one or no thing aside from God. While these are part of the Old Law, I believe God still expects these holy traits from us today, including no idols and no other gods (Matthew 6:33).
Today’s Bible journaling page was inspired (but not copied) by an image found on Pinterest. Unfortunately, I did not find a link back to its creator or source. I did all hand drawing and lettering with pencil first. I traced with colored gel pens and filled in with colored pencils.