Christians, when we talk about biblical idolatry, what images come to mind? Temples, golden calves, poles, offerings, incense, false prophets. God dealt A LOT in the Old Testament with His chosen people being sucked into the trap and deception of Idolatry. His first TWO of the TEN Commandments dealt with it. You shall not have any other gods before or beside me, and you shall not make any images of anything and bow down and worship it. In today’s society, we may think that we are safe from idolatry. No golden calves, no bowing down before any images, right? So what does modern day idolatry look like?
God defines idolatry as having other gods besides Him. What test can we perform to see if we have other gods before Him? We are called to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. That to me means that we are constantly checking in with Him. See what is going on, see what is new, what is on His feed, what He likes, what, His recent posts, we then should be liking, commenting, sharing what He is doing…
Let’s be honest, if we are social media people, we all have those certain platforms, groups, news outlets, or people that we anxiously look to see what they are doing. We get excited about logging in, seeing what new pictures or messages they’ve posted, what funny comments they’ve made. We LOVE to click like, share, re-post, or maybe we have certain people we love to “spy” on and they have no idea we do it. Like peeking through their window, we never like, comment, or share, but we follow their every move (and usually JUDGE them).
If you think I am being HARSH or you are about to stop reading, let me take a minute and explain. Let me be first to repent and admit, I have put things, people, social media platforms BEFORE God, I am guilty of modern day Idolatry. I have done the things I have just described. I am not too proud to admit it, God OPPOSES the proud, but gives GRACE to the humble. I have spent the first few weeks of this year “fasting” most social media. It has given me some great clarity and a desire to change the approach these platforms have in my future.
The toughest question I faced when I started this, was I spending MORE time with my phone/computer/tablet etc than I was with God? YES! Absolutely. I would make my breakfast, sit down (say a quick prayer) open up the news feed on my phone. A ten second prayer, a ten minute dive into everything going on in the world, not with God. I did the same thing with lunch. In the evenings, I would watch an online movie, a TV show, more news or videos online, do a quick devotional with my wife and prayer before bed. The scale was tipped TERRIBLY towards OTHER things before/besides God. At the beginning of the year, I took the time I was spending with my phone, and now when I ate breakfast, I talk to God and listen too.
When thinking of bowing down to other images, do you know that there is an ailment called “TEXT NECK” or “SMARTPHONE NECK”. People are “bowing” down, for SO long on their phone that it CAUSES them physical injury. I have not suffered this injury, but I can easily see it affecting people. If you saw someone praying and someone on their smartphone, they look very similar, head bowed, focusing on what they are doing. Towards the end of last year I watched a video of people walking into fountains, light poles, falling down stairs all while walking and looking at their phone.
So we have a modern day Idolatry problem, it is just that no one calls it that. I am not condemning or saying all social media platforms, news outlets, and phone/tablet usage IS BAD. I am saying that as Christians, we are called to be set apart, to be Holy, to live DIFFERENT than the world. I am evaluating my life, my media consumption, my goals, dreams, desires. If I want breakthrough, if I want fulfillment in 2018, it goes back to the saying:
If I want to see something I have never seen, I am going to have to do something I have never done!
If that means unplugging for a while, so be it. If it means I don’t watch, like, tweet, post all the nonsense, so be it. If it means people unfriend me, because my content is ALL ABOUT GOD, SO BE IT. I challenge you, whoever YOU are, the FORERUNNERS, the MIGHTY MEN and WOMEN of God, the ones who WANT to be set apart, different, unique, unusual. Who don’t want the MUNDANE, but want the God of the Universe to permeate your EVERYDAY life.
I challenge you, come CLOSE to God and He will come CLOSE to you. Repent, it is as easy as clicking delete. Then you start with a clean slate and going forward, make decisions based on the bigger view, the eternal view. I pray for wisdom and revelation to fall on those seeking to go deeper in the things of God, I pray grace and mercy for the repentant heart desiring no other gods before you, I pray that we may all examine our lives and strive to live holy and set apart for your will and purpose on the earth, in Jesus Name, Amen.
You shall have no other gods before or besides Me. You shall not make yourself any graven image [to worship it] or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; You shall not bow down yourself to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, But showing mercy and steadfast love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments. Exodus 4:2-6 (AMP)
And he replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. And Jesus said to him, You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live [enjoy active, blessed, endless life in the kingdom of God]. Luke 10:27-28 (AMP)
And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. James 4:6-8 (NLT)
If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14 (AMP)