For quite some time, I have been studying what idolatry is.
Idolatry is the natural religion of the human heart, because it’s about human beings.
Whatever you like, there is an idol for it. Idolatry is about all the things that delight human beings.
That is why it is a “pantheon.” The reason there are so many idols is that every single thing that is not our God, the great “I AM,” is an idol. That’s right, everything–every single thing in existence other than God can be worshiped as an idol.
Idolatry is such an easy sin to commit that if we are in any kind of sin, it is likely that we are in idolatry. Any disobedience, disrespect, mockery, lack of complete commitment, faithlessness, or any other form of disregard for God is, in effect, idolatry, because we are to put God first in our lives:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt 22:36-40
So now the question is this: Which of us believers has never committed idolatry, at least in our hearts? Brothers and sisters, I urgently need to tell you that you must submit everything in your heart, good and bad, to the Lord as soon as possible. Only by our good example and submission to God will the Holy Spirit be able to work through us to prevent the tide of corruption and wickedness which we now see enveloping our nation and the world at large. Please, please, ask God to show you what the idols are in your life and renounce them–repent! I have a strong sense that even if many Christians repent, God is still going to judge us, but I don’t know how, where, or when. I assure you, Christians, that as long as we cling to our idols, we are only a part of the corruption problem, and will never make it any better.
I had a dream of war. A limp child died in her mother’s arms. All night in my mind, grey, ruthless armies marched, destroyed, and killed. I fell asleep with visions of suffering children, and I awoke to visions of cannons. I think God is trying to tell us: Turn from your sin and seek my face, for I am the only one who can save you from yourselves! Christians, we have tried to stop corruption using political powers, as I’ve discussed, and it has only made things worse: now we’re viewed as “dominionist” hypocrites who only want to boss other people around. No more, not for me. If asked, I will disapprove of sin, but to actively oppose evil has not worked. “Do not resist him who is evil.” “Turn the other cheek.” “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit.” Change your heart, turn to God, focus on him alone, and change will spread from us to the rest of the world.
Let me give you some examples of different types of idols that I have seen Christians cling to. Of course, Christians are like any other human and we are all delighted by the most popular idols: money, power, and sex.
Let’s see how Christians have idolized money. Many outside the church have judged us for building church metropolises that cost 12 million dollars and spending only a small portion of church funds on the poor. In fact, there is one large church in my town that is nearly bankrupt, because they were never able to finish paying for their building before Christianity became so unpopular that they didn’t have nearly the number of members that they would need to pay for such a structure.
This is something that we really need to grapple with. Christians, instead of appreciating the loving nature of the sacrifice that Christ made for us and doing the same for others, most of us now consider it a burden to even give the tithe that everyone in the church rightfully should pay! Love is a sacrificial thing. It gives to anyone who needs, even when we are down to only “two mites,” because we can trust that, if we obey God, he will reward us. “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.” Proverbs 19:17
We should all be giving money over and above our tithe, whatever is asked of us, if God leads. Perhaps, at times we rationalize that we are only “enabling” bad behavior, but I would just like to point out that Jesus did not differentiate between “the deserving poor” and “the undeserving poor.” Oops! Perhaps sometimes God gives us the discernment to know that what they ask for is not what they need, so we give what they do need. Unless we are sure that giving will actually, literally hurt the requester, then we are in disobedience to Jesus’ clear teaching if we turn them away empty-handed:
“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” Luke 6:30
I dare you, Christian to read Luke 6 and analyze yourself in comparison to it. It is extremely challenging. I really think that if you can do even one thing that Luke 6:27-42 says to do, you are being a better Christian than about 90% of the Christians that I’ve met in my life, which is many hundreds at many different types of churches over the years.
I hope you know, Christians, that the world has heard about this passage in the Bible, and they have tried to hold us accountable to it for decades, and yet we have rebelled and remained lawless in the eyes of God and men. Read it. Pray over it. Submit to it. Repent. It is the only way that God’s work on earth can be done. If you are one who believes in Jesus, then I love you, and that is why I tell you these things: I don’t want you to continue in ignorance that could lead to destruction. I care too much about you to let that happen.
I have already written in another post about how Christians have sought power that was not the power of God, so I now move on to the subject of sexual idolatry.
Let us discuss the Bible’s view of sex. Love between a man and a wife that is intimate and exciting is laid out for us on the book called Song of Songs. This picture of sexual intimacy is in the Bible for two major reasons: To show us the nature of Christ to his bride the church, and also to show us how our marital relationships should be a model of that relationship. This simple fact has been pushed so far aside that even Christians no longer seem to understand the purpose of marriage or sex as gifts and symbols from God.
Jesus came to earth so that we may have a relationship with God. Our relationship with Christ is symbolized by marriage. That means that marriage and the special, exclusive relationship with our Lord cannot possibly be represented by anything other than a committed, loving, honoring, exclusive, wedded relationship between a man and a woman. I’m sorry if that’s hurtful, but the truth is important, because Jesus said, “I am The Truth,” so if we reject the truth, we are rejecting Jesus. “The truth will set you free,” so if you are in bondage to sexual sin, then please give that sin to the Lord and let him change you. Give it up. Repent. Jesus came to set the captives free, so let go of your past sins and hurts and let the Lord love you.
Types of sexual sin include, but are certainly not limited to: impure thoughts, masturbation, adultery, prostitution, fornication, same-sex relations, looking at pornography, and many other things listed in the Bible, especially in Leviticus 18. Remember Christian, if you have to ask the question, “Is this okay?” it is not okay! God does not require us to be “okay,” but to be holy. Remember, my blog is not addressed to unbelievers, because I know they will not listen to me. But, if you are a Christian reading this post, you need to consider whether God has sent me, your Christian sister, to call you to repentance. If God can speak through a donkey, then he can most likely speak through me, even if you consider me no better than a “donkey,” in a way.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. 1 Thess 4:3-8
Again, anything that is not honoring to God is idolatry. All sexual sin is idolatry, and the more we sink into sexual sin, the more other types of idolatry we will fall prey to. In fact, while Christians have been trying to fight back corruption with the law, we have completely failed to realize that the corruption we are seeing is not the problem, but only a symptom of the true problem, which is worship of the self.
Ah, yes! Humanism! When Petrarch realized, in a mountaintop experience, that he should stop focusing on God and focus on himself, I’m sure he didn’t realize that he was setting Western Civilization on a destructive course that leads to death and hell. Petrarch was an extremely popular poet, credited with founding Renaissance Humanism, which has been an idol for many scholars*. He loved Augustine and his Confessions with a passion. Petrarch did want to serve God, but notice the argument that he uses to shift his focus from Christ to himself:
I closed the book, angry with myself that I should still be admiring earthly things who might long ago have learned from even the pagan philosophers that nothing is wonderful but the soul, which, when great itself, finds nothing great outside itself. Then, in truth, I was satisfied that I had seen enough of the mountain; I turned my inward eye upon myself, and from that time not a syllable fell from my lips until we reached the bottom again.
So, it would appear that it was indeed paganism, which is a form of idolatry, that led to our current state of valuing ourselves above God. By idolizing the self, we have all strayed far from God’s will for our lives. By putting ourselves first, we have not put God first. Later in his life, Petrarch wrote in his secret diary a dialogue between himself and his beloved Augustine, in which Augustine condemned him for living his life wrongly by wasting it writing poetry about another man’s wife.
Christian, I’m not trying to be bossy, but Christianity is not about you. It’s about God. The religion that’s about you is called “Humanism,” I just showed you that. I do not want to hear one more Christian say that they can’t do what God requires, because they weren’t raised right, or they are just made wrongly. God does not accept excuses for sin, but he does accept sinners, if they come in humility and repentance, and not pride and lawlessness. Still not convinced that God desires control of our sexual lives?
In the Bible, as we Christians know, God asked Abraham to make a commitment (covenant) with him, by cutting off a piece of… what? What other evidence would anyone need that God wants to be in charge of every part of our lives? Circumcision is a symbol of commitment to God: it is cutting off part of your most sensitive, personal, precious part of yourself and casting it aside and letting it die. It’s painful! It’s bloody! Everyone will ask you, “Why on earth would you do something like that??” “What did you do??” Cries of dismay and disgust fill the air at this terrible violation of the idol called “The Self.” If God’s covenant with Abraham involved his private parts, then that kind of commitment is what he requires of us, as well, but much more, in fact we must commit our entire being to God, because we are to be “circumcised of heart.”
Christian, you believe you are saved because Jesus died for you? Well, I need to tell you that Jesus said only people who do his Father’s will are going to heaven:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
So, think about it: if you refuse to submit to God, because you were born a sinner, just as I was, then what excuse do you have for that rebellion? Why do you slap God in the face and tell him that you can’t change, when he as told you that “All things are possible through Christ, who strengthens you”? For too long, the church has preached what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace,” and many souls have fallen into sin because they believed they were accepting Jesus without giving anything in return.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. Matthew 16:24-27
Where does Jesus say that any of us has an excuse to sin? He clearly says that if I want to be his follower, I have to “take up my cross,” and we all have our various crosses to bear. For example, in my flesh, I’m a narcissist and I have a bad temper. Should I use the fact that I was born that way as a license to sin? If we aren’t willing to “lose our life” of sexual liberty, then we cannot find our life in Christ; Jesus said it himself.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Roman 6:1-4
People will do whatever they are open to. I know that, because I’ve had a lot of sexual opportunities that I’ve passed up, because I was not open them. A perfect example is the time I spent at a college one summer when I was still in high school. I had a female friend there who was extremely smart and creative. We almost seemed like soul mates. We used to have tickle fights on her bed. When the summer was over, we were both emotionally devastated, and she wrote me a goodbye letter telling me that “other people wouldn’t understand our relationship.” What does that sound like? The relationship never became sexual, however. Why? Because I wasn’t open to it, that’s why. It was against my beliefs. I’m pretty sure she was open to it, and that she still is open to sexual contact with women. So, didn’t I make a choice not to further the relationship? But again, what does it matter how I was born: no matter what my issues are, I have to place them all at the foot of the cross and not resist God’s discipline on my life, for that is lawlessness.
So, it’s hard for me to place myself above same-sex relationships or any other type of sin, since I have been attracted and intimately attached to the soul of a woman, and certainly in later years had many impure thoughts, including many types of sexual sin, more times than I can count. Jesus said that looking with lust was just as bad as committing the act, so that means that I have committed all those acts, because I wanted to do them. (Matt. 527)
I am a sinner, like you. I am no better than you, no matter what you’ve done. You and I both need Jesus. We were born in sin, and we will die in sin if we do not repent and turn to the Lord. We are not different, we are the same, you and me. We are both sinners saved by grace who need to turn from our sins and seek the Lord.
God, I want to turn from all my sexual sins of the past. I have had countless immoral thoughts, I have enticed others, I have been a bad example to everyone around me by not keeping my faith, which means that I have led others to sin, I have cohabited before marriage which is fornication, I have disgraced the name of Christ by not allowing his light to shine in my life. I have worshiped the idol of my own lust, and exchanged your truth for a lie, which is that what I want matters. I now submit to you and ask your forgiveness. Please forgive me and change me and cleanse me from all my sins through the power of the blood of Jesus. Today, I have wept about what a bad example I’ve been, and how poor a follower of your son I have been.
Anyone reading this should pray for me too, that God will have mercy on me. I do love God and want to give him my full devotion. I think the light should have come on in my mind in college that I was not being a good example, when my sorority sisters asked what was the most important thing in my life, and I said, “God,” and they all agreed that they couldn’t tell.
I’m so sorry, God, for living a wordly life of carnal passions, but I thank you that you can still save me.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Still don’t think you can change? Well, it’s true: nobody can change without Jesus. Trying to change yourself through your own strength is a heresy called “legalism.” It will never work. Trying harder will never work. If it could, then we would not have needed Jesus to die for us. Throw yourself on God’s mercy and ask him to change you, for “his strength is made perfect in our weakness.” Confess that you are helpless in your sin. When you are weak, but you let God change you, then God is glorified, which is what God desires, our love and devotion.
* I just noticed that they have a little, golden idol that looks like a human on the Humanism page. Isn’t that cute?