Anytime we put a “thing” between us and God…that’s an idol. Anytime we take God off the throne of our heart and put that “thing” in His place…it’s an idol. We’d all vehemently deny that we engage in idol worship…but let’s stop and think about for a moment. An IDOL is – Iconoclastic Ideology that causes Deception Over Our Lives. An idol is something that attacks and opposes cherished beliefs and doctrines in a very misleading and crafty way…slowly and deceptively worming its way into our lives over time…until that idol has become firmly established on the throne of our heart. We may say we’re not into idol worship…but who’s sitting on that throne today? The newest smart phone…an addiction…unforgiveness? Anything can become an idol when it comes between and causes discord between God and you.
The Old Testament prophets warned the people of those who would come telling them what they wanted to hear, and not always the whole truth. They led the people astray with deception and lies, by making excuses, and hiding or muddling the facts. The world hasn’t changed much – in that we call it spinning the truth now a days. Any story can be spun to the negative or to the positive, depending on the audience listening. The truth can be covered over by differing points of view or even the interpretation of the reporter. Sadly, we have become accustomed to having the truth distorted in some way to make it more palatable to the masses…and in doing so, the world wanders farther and farther from God.
The Apostle John was addressing the Church in Laodicea, a city known as a great banking center for the region. In this Scripture, John was reprimanding the Church for its misplaced trust. Rather than relying on the Lord, they were boasting in their own wealth and independence… and he was exhorting them to realize just how deceived they were putting their faith in money, and not God. Therefore, anytime we rely totally on ourselves and our own abilities…we’re essentially telling God, “I can do it myself, I don’t need You!” And this can be a very dangerous situation to be in…for it’s a place of self-deception, pride, and potential falling away.
Time was short for the elderly Joshua when he warned the Jewish leaders about being enticed by foreign gods. He wanted them to be fully aware of what the allure and deception of foreign gods could do to the Jewish people. He urged them to remain faithful to the Word of God…persevering with self-discipline in their walk…guarding their hearts and minds from deceit…veering neither to the right nor to the left but always keeping on the straight and narrow. Joshua’s words ring true for God’s people today…Be courageous, keep guard, remain faithful.
John was so concerned about the early Church being deceived by false teachers that he repeated this warning later on in his letter…for he wrote in Chapter 3:7 of I John, “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.” Any teaching that denies Jesus Christ is God incarnate…and any teaching that places any thing or person above Him is fraudulent. With cunning and wiliness false teachers will speak of a “type” of Jesus, but if you listen carefully, it’s a corrupt version and not the truth. So how can you know you’re not being lead down the path of destruction? Without the firm foundation of the truth of God found in the Bible, we can all be easily duped and mislead. Open the Bible…read the truth…allow it to formulate the basis of your belief system. For when you have the truth within…no one will be able to lead you astray.
The selfish human nature is always striving for the liberty of self-determination. “I want to do what I want, when I want to”, is our mindset. But with that enticement comes deception and seduction as we wander farther and farther off the right path. And sooner or later, we find ourselves in the middle of perversion, and wonder just how we got ourselves into such a mess. In the search for freedom, we have instead become a piece of property…owned and controlled by depravity and lies.