July 4, 2022
“Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God’s wrath comes...”
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“Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, and you once walked in these things when you were living in them.” Colossians 3:5-7
When I was young, my parents used to frequent a Chinese restaurant. Behind the cash register at this establishment were several ornate boxes containing what I thought were “action figures,” posed amidst a constant stream of incense smoke. I recall asking the Chinese cashier about the dolls; she told me they were her family gods.
For years, that experience formed my opinion of idolatry. In my mind, an idol was a carving or picture of people to whom you prayed and burned incense. I figured the idol would bless the worshipper in return for the worship. It all seemed silly to me. I was thankful I didn’t grow up in a culture that worshipped idols.
Fast-forward several years.
I was in my mid 20’s and deep into the music business. I remember standing at a department store merchandise counter. I had an armful of clothes that I figured would look really cool on stage. The cashier zipped my credit card and discretely informed me that my card had declined. When I called the card company, I was astonished at how much debt I had accumulated in such a short amount of time. That’s when I realized I myself was an idolater!
Yes, I had gotten into debt because of my idolatry. Here’s what I mean: I had bought into a lifestyle, or “image,” which I pursued beyond Godly accountability. I wasn’t satisfied with God’s provision, so I sold myself into the bondage of credit card companies, all to acquire an “image.” I had bestowed power and worship to the “image” to provide success and protect my lifestyle…power and worship that belonged to God!
Whenever I felt God was inadequately showing up for me, I simply trusted the “image” to grant me what God had denied. And that’s how I got into credit trouble as a young man!
Paul tells us that God’s wrath comes because of our idolatry. Maybe you have never worshipped carved stone & wooden idols. Nevertheless, the Bible says we ALL once walked in idolatrous ways. In some ways, perhaps, we still occasionally flirt with those former idols. But there is HOPE for all who choose to turn from their idolatry and walk with the Lord by placing their faith and trust in Jesus. However, when we reject His ways, we open ourselves up to His certain “rod of correction” and wrath of punishment.