"We are not to put anything ahead of God. Perhaps for you, it is a car that you have or would like to have that is more important than God. Or maybe you are putting a sports figure, celebrity or friend's ideas and opinions ahead of God. If so, those can be an idol to you."
While I agree that we can make idols out of those things, even as adults, I believe the idolatry in our culture is affecting us on a deeper level than just a few material possessions or the latest People magazine cover sensation.
The amount of false doctrine propagated among even the Christian community in America today is scary to me. Who would have ever thought our belief system could blend so easily with that of the Hindu or the Muslim or the Buddhist? We shake our heads at the repeated idolatry of the Israelites in the Old Testament, but are we really any different? Let me explain.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve tried to become "gods", were removed from paradise and began the process of death in our world. In Noah's day, the same attitude prevailed. The Bible says they "did what was right in their own eyes". They were destroyed by the Flood. Although these are the two catastrophic events that affect us, down through history the same cycle repeated and I believe is still being repeated, in sometimes subtle ways, today.
Today "doing right in our own eyes" is called "whatever works for you" or "whatever makes you feel good". Satan makes sure that this message is more hidden for the Christian community so we don't recognize it as easily.
We read or hear someone mention "God" and think that it means they ascribe to Christianity and the Creator. However, God is simply used as a generic term for whatever your belief system is.
"Meditating" is another term that is often used. It sounds so Biblical, right out of the Psalms. It's right up there with prayer. However, meditating by focusing on ourselves instead of God is the very essence of making gods of ourselves.
Why am I talking about this on a blog for Christian women? Because it consumes the popular ideas touted in most magazines written for wives and mothers today, even some Christian publications. We are to teach our children "self-esteem" which sounds noble, but is really a way to teach them that loving themselves and expressing themselves is their model for happiness rather than esteeming others.
Mothers are encouraged to spend our days in a quest for "me time" when Christ's example was to pour Himself out for others.
We hear a lot about "simplifying your life", which is a good idea for most of us, however when it means to remove everything stressful or unpleasant from your life, it can be just another way to serve ourselves. If Jesus would have done this, we would not have salvation today. If Paul and the other apostles had done this, we would have no Bible or church.
"Natural health and fitness" sounds like a return to God's ways for us, and in some cases it is, but often when one reads a health magazine, it is full of Eastern religious practices disguised as exercise and "alternative medicine".
How do we protect ourselves from these subtle messages that are so contrary to God's Word when carefully examined? God gave the formula to Joshua before he began a series of battles with heathen countries to claim the land God had given them. He told him:
This book of the law shall (be constantly in) thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.In order to recognize the Truth and the opposite of Truth, we must totally immerse ourselves in the Truth, talking about it and thinking about and doing it. When we do that, all falseness will be clearly and immediately evident.