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Our Battle with Idolatry

Our Battle with Idolatry

Editor’s Note: It’s Sit & Listen Saturday at Devotionals Daily. Enjoy reading as well as listening to this devotion from Liking Jesus by Craig Groeschel – and don’t miss our exclusive $5 deal on the book! Listen on the blog or on your Alexa device by enabling the skill and then prompting, “Alexa, ask devotionals to read today’s devotion.”

Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that ought to be worshiped. ~ Augustine

Years ago I was talking to a guy who was bragging about his wealth and detailing all the many ways God had blessed him. The guy had built a successful business that he was quite proud of. He described how much his profits had increased in the past five years and boasted about the value of his company. He told me about his second home in the ski resort of Aspen, Colorado, and the private jet he used for business trips and to shuttle his family back and forth on their frequent, exotic vacations.

Finally, I felt compelled to challenge him just a little bit. “You said that God blessed you. Do you feel any responsibility to use what God has given you to make a difference?” I fully expected him to soften, maybe even to backtrack and tell me about someone he had helped, perhaps describe some ministry or charity he supported financially. Maybe he hadn’t wanted to brag about his giving or to reveal ways God had led him to invest in the kingdom. But the guy steamrolled ahead and calmly explained why he didn’t feel compelled to give.

Dumbfounded, I asked him to clarify. “You mean you don’t give anything? Like, nothing at all?”

Then he said something I’ll never forget. Without reservation, he replied, “I don’t give anything away because I love money. Love making it. Love spending it. Love what it buys. I love how it makes me feel. I earn my own money, so I use it on myself. Period.” I imagine my jaw must have hit the floor, because then he added, “And don’t go telling me how the love of money is the root of all evil. I’ve heard that before. That may be true for some people, but God and I are fine. He blesses me, and it’s mine to spend the way I want. This is the way I am, and I’m not changing.”

As shocked as I was, I appreciated his honesty and bluntness. My fear is that his attitude toward money is similar to how many people feel about technology. We might have a seriously dysfunctional relationship with our phones, our followers, or our Likes, but we don’t care. We know something should change. But we just shrug it off. We might think, “I’m fine with it. I like it. This is just my thing. Even if it’s wrong, even if God has something better for me, I don’t care.”

In the Old Testament, Gideon faced a similar problem with the people around him. They willingly bowed to idols and thumbed their noses at God in the process. But God was having none of it. With righteous passion, he told Gideon,

Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. — Judges 6:25

Notice that God didn’t tell Gideon to help the people manage their idols, to shorten them by a few feet, just keep them under control. No, He commanded Gideon to tear them down. Cut down the poles.

Don’t tolerate the idols. Crush them. Destroy them. Smash them. Obliterate them.

If you know your unhealthy obsessions are interfering with your most important relationships — with people or with God — it’s time to act.

This moment.

God doesn’t want you to have any gods before Him. Not a single one. God longs for you to know Him, to enjoy His constant presence and goodness, to walk by His Spirit, and to live in His love.

When Jesus saw a rich guy who idolized his money and things, Scripture says,

Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ He said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me’”. — Mark 10:21, emphasis added

Don’t miss Jesus’ motivation here for asking so much of this rich guy. Jesus didn’t tell the young man to give all his money to him and to His disciples, or to the building fund for the new temple. Jesus simply loved him. Do you see that? Jesus loved him. And Jesus loves you more than you can imagine. He doesn’t want you to allow yourself to be seduced into settling for some counterfeit.

He wants you to embrace His grace, satisfied in your soul, because He is not only all you need but more than you can imagine.

It’s interesting to me that at least in the Gospel record, Jesus didn’t tell anyone else to sell everything and give away all their money. This is the only time that Jesus gives such a specific command. Why did he tell this guy and no one else to get rid of everything? It’s not because God doesn’t want us to have money and things; it’s that He doesn’t want money and things to have us. Without question, the things of this world had this rich man’s heart. They consumed him. He’d been seduced. And because Jesus loved him, He wanted him to have something better. So He commanded him to get rid of his idols and follow Him.

If you sense the Spirit of God nudging you (or maybe it’s more like a kick in the cursor), don’t ignore Him. He loves you. If your soul has been seduced into serving a counterfeit god, the one true God wants something better for you.

But gaining the better requires tearing down the idol. Don’t manage it.

Destroy it.

Excerpted with permission from Liking Jesus by Craig Groeschel, copyright Craig Groeschel.

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Your Turn

If you came face-to-Face with Jesus today, what might He in His great love for you ask you to quit doing, or tear down, or walk away from? What has happened in your life and spirit as you’ve laid down idols and chosen Him instead? Come share with us on our blog. We would love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily