They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods… (2 Kings 17:33 NKJV)
This phrase stood out to me as I read the Word earlier today. Honestly, I couldn’t help but relate to it.
That verse is me, I thought. I am the Israelites. I serve many masters. But I fear my idols more than I fear You.
To be honest, I’ve struggled with idolatry for years. I want to believe that I simply have chronic idolatry, but I know that’s just a lie from Satan. Whether I want to admit it or not, idolatry doesn’t just “happen” to me.
Idolatry is a choice. I choose to worship idols. I choose not to let them go. I choose to serve them when I should serve Christ.
Can you Relate?
-You know you shouldn’t be going to those porn sites. You know they’re dangerous and sinful. But it lets you escape from the real world.
-You know you shouldn’t be wearing those shorty shorts around campus. You know that they’re immodest and that you’re leading guys to lust. But you just want a little attention.
-You know you shouldn’t be sleeping in on Sunday mornings. You know how important fellowship, hearing the Word, and worshipping God are. But you just need one day during the week to sleep.
-You know you shouldn’t spend so much time on social media. You know that you basically spend all your free time posting pictures and finding followers. But you just want to boost your self-esteem.
-You know you shouldn’t be hanging around with the guys on your football team so often. You know they’re a bad influence on you and your relationship with God. But you just enjoy having so many friends.
These are just a few examples of idolatry. Nothing is inherently wrong with escaping from the real world, getting attention, sleeping in, boosting your self-esteem, or having more friends. But there is something wrong with making these things more important than Christ.
The Way Out of Idolatry
An idol is anything we prioritize over God. If you’re pursuing your desires instead of pursuing Christ, you’re worshipping an idol.
I know how much you want to destroy your idols, and I know how much you want to keep them. I know how impossible it feels not to worship them. I may set goals, have high ambitions, and desire to change. But I still feel like I’ll always be ruled by my idols.
So how do I stop? How do we stop?
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:13-14 ESV)
No matter how impossible it feels, it is possible to stop worshipping our idols because we can always say no. The only way out of idolatry is taking the way of escape that God provides.
Escaping to Freedom
We can’t obey God and our idols (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13). However, idolatry isn’t a dead-end. Just like worshipping idols is a choice, worshiping God is, too.
Here’s the choice: You don’t have to go to that porn site. You don’t have to wear those shorty shorts. You don’t have to sleep in on Sundays. You don’t have to spend so much time on social media. You don’t have to frequently hang out with non-Christians.
Here’s the way of escape: You can ask for an accountability partner. You can buy cute new shorts. You can delete your social media accounts. You can set your alarm to go off before church starts. You can find encouraging Christian friends.
These ideas may sound difficult to implement, but they lead to freedom. Maybe your idolatry isn’t as discouraging as mine, but my idolatry makes me feel defeated.
I hate feeling defeated when I can be victorious. Because God is faithful, He will provide a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Are you going to take it?