Reading Deuteronomy 30: 15-18

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

When I was younger, when I heard the word "idolatry" I always thought of people bowing down to images of wood and stone, or praying to inanimate objects. As I grew older, my understanding of idolatry broadened. I knew that an idol could be anything or anyone that I placed above God in my heart, but I still didn't have a concrete understanding of how far- reaching that could be....until yesterday.

While listening to a recorded periscope by Dr. Matthew L Stevenson entitled "Do it from Scratch" , link: in which he made one profound statement that rocked my world. The statement went something like this:

"An idol is anything you have to ask the permission of / get to agree with your next series of steps before you follow the Lord"...

WOW! When I heard that it was as if time had stopped for me. It was so simple! Such a clear barometer by which I could examine my heart! Just as Deuteronomy 30 reads, God gives us choices every second of every day. In each individual case, we can either do what God requires of us, or do something else. The general tenor of the Bible is that obedience to God leads to life, but disobedience leads us away from Him and toward death.

The thing that determines our course of action is the position of our heart on the matter. It first starts with LOVE. We are willing to cater to the requirements of things/those that we love. Full obedience begins in the heart.  By "FULL" I mean, that the motive and the follow-through come from a place that includes not only duty, but willingness. 

It therefore stands to reason that idolatry is also a heart matter. Usually, the priorities reflect the heart. When we are faced with decisions we will consider the things that matter to us most in order to determine if and when we will follow a certain course of action. Dr. Stevenson's statement cut me to the core because I can  think of several instances where I knew the Lord told me to do something and my first thought was "Ok, I will, but I have to do this first" or "I wonder what that person will think" or there was some other hindrance to immediate obedience. Sure, I did what I was told eventually, but there was something in the idol perhaps?

Self-examination is so critical with regards to rooting out idolatry from our lives. Cultivating our heart is the path to successfully making idolatry a sin that no longer taints us. The Holy Spirit is the one who creates a new heart in us, and we cultivate it by practicing nurturing our love for the Lord through prioritizing our relationship with him, and also by eliminating hesitation from obedience to God in all of our decision-making

Is there idolatry in your life today?

Liselle Coker1 Comment