Idolatry of the heart
“Give me children, or I die!” – Rachel Genesis:30:1.
Three!- The number of children Miranda, 24, said she must have to be happy. Her idol. Her god. Miranda had silky, smooth, brown flowing hair that swayed in the fresh light air breeze of Manhattan. The languid flames of the firepit needed more fuel to stay alive. The firey flames resembled her current situation in her mind- still alive but slowly dying. Kailee, Miranda’s best friend, whispered, “How are you doing, Miranda?” Miranda murmured, “okay.” Miranda wanted to get married. Miranda desired children so much that marriage wasn’t even about the marriage anymore. Miranda wanted to get married to have children. Miranda’s father died in a horrific car accident at five years old. Being a foster child, Miranda desired to be loved more than anything else. The type of love that is unconditional. Unrefuted. Always there. Always accessible. She worshipped the god of children at all costs. Children would make her happy. Satisfy her desires, and make everything okay. Children=happiness.
What is Idolatry?
Idolatry is anything that dominates our mind, will, and affection that is on par with God or more than God in our hearts. What does God’s Word say about Idolatry?
Exodus 20:3- You shall have no other Gods before me.
Matthew 22:37-38- You shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. (Our one and true devotion is to him for His glory and worship.)
At the heart of Idolatry is a lie. Believing that something else will satisfy us more than God. Rachel wanted Children so much that she wanted to die because she wasn’t getting what she thought would make her happy. Rachel was coveting the children of her sister Leah! Why is it that beautiful Rachel was barren, but her sister produced many children? Ironically, how does the story end? Rachel dies in childbirth. The thing she desired so much ended up being destructive to the point of her death.
Idolatry is rooted in unbelief- When we don’t believe Christ can satisfy us, Idols come to offer everything they can provide to replace Christ and His satisfaction. It’s tangible.
How do we know when we’ve gone from a good desire to idolatry?
When we are willing to sin to get it. When the desire consumes our thoughts, desires, affection, and will. When our life is centered on something other than God, His glory, and His purposes. When you have another god. (gods lower g is anything that is an idol in your life.)
Another example of Idolatry-
32 Remember Lot’s wife.
33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
Lot’s wife disobeyed God because she was attached to Her city and Her people. She was told not to look back because Sodom was being destroyed for its sin. But she looked back at the city. And it cost her the one life she had.
We can look to Moses’ example, who was tempted to sin but chose Christ instead.
24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, srefused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 tchoosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy uthe fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 vHe considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to wthe reward.
Our minds and Idols
In Colossians:3 and Ephesians:4, Paul outlines the connection between our minds and obedience. If we are fully committed to Christ and His Kingdom, our minds and hearts will be set on Him. Part of worshipping God truly is setting our minds on him and not other things.
Colossians 3:2- Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth……….
5- Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. On account of these things, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.
But now you also, lay them all aside: wrath, anger, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you put off the old man with its evil practices, and have put on the new man who is being renewed to a full knowledge according to the image of the One who created him………..
So as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another, and graciously forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord graciously forgave you, so also should you. Above all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
In Ephesians, Paul talks about the Gentiles who walk in the futility of their minds-
Therefore this I say, and testify in the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind.
We are heart idolaters. What is it that we want that we think will make us happy? That we have to have? Is it power? Respect? Fame? Marriage? Relationships? Finances? Friends? Praise? As Christians, we have a new Heart (Ezekiel 36:26). We have a new disposition. But we aren’t perfect. Inordinate desires can fill our hearts. But our allegiance and what we live for is Christ and Him crucified as the center of our lives. We were bought at a price. And are so thankful for what we have in Him. To live is Christ.
The words of the Apostle Paul Philippians 1:21
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
1 Corinthians 6:9
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Nor idolaters will inherit the kingdom of God.