Come with us to Africa to see something our Father in heaven is doing in Kenya's fourth largest city, Nakuru. Christ is raising up a testimony of love and truth among the helpless and downtrodden residents in the impoverished sections of this fast growing city. As we share the uncut gospel of the Kingdom of God with them, the changes happening in their lives has both encouraged ...and humbled us.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The Last Great Idol
i.dol (id’l) >1. An image used as an object of worship. 2. One that is adored.[< Gk. Eidolon, image eidos, form.] (The American Heritage Dictionary)
Not long ago, a friend, my wife and I were traveling across southern India, with the purpose of visiting Amy Carmichael’s community called Dohnavur. Amy Carmichael was an Irish missionary working in India during the early nineteen hundreds. Her life and sacrifice in India greatly inspired the people of the Village we in live in. Her community is a wonderful gathering of Saints serving Christ by being a home to 200 or so, young Indian girls. As we traveled through rural India, we were amazed at the number of little shrines filled with Hindu idols that dotted the countryside. It seemed that wherever we went there were small shrines filled with the sacred images of the Hindu gods. Luscious fruit with beautiful rings of flowers, tediously strung together, adorned the idols and their shrines. Most the small towns and villages had shops where you could obtain your “gifts” for the gods. Observing the extreme poverty of the people in southern India, we were amazed at the sacrificial giving attached to the adoration of their idols. The devotion spoke of the zeal they had to please the god or gods that the idols represented and thus obtain their blessing. My friend from California was very outspoken about India’s “ignorant darkness” of idolatry and even seemed a little smug concerning how our country had escaped the plague of idolatry.
Yet when I returned to our country I felt God opened my eyes to a different and much more deceptive form of idolatry. Most Americans would never think of themselves as living in a country full of devoted idol worshippers. Yet we do. The pictures of Hindus kneeling in front of the elephant headed God Ganash or the Buddhist sitting cross legged in a full lotus position before the statues of Buddha are not something most Americans could see themselves as practicing. Yet the kind of idolatry practiced in this country is far more deceptive than any of its predecessors. The worship of this idol is faithfully carried out seven days a week three hundred and sixty five days a year. The loyalty and devotion to its worship is absolutely awe inspiriting. Now I am not talking about the images of Christ or Mary his wonderful mother, in which Catholics feel a need to revere. Nor am I referring to the exotic practices of the devout Buddhist or Hindu. I am writing this article about the Idol of all idols in which Americans have become consumed with its veneration and worship. Every idol carved, fashioned or hewn has been made with the hope of capturing the true likeness of the deity they represent and thus finding its favor. This idol is also fashioned in its deity’s likeness and the god it represents is the source of all other forms of idolatry throughout the world. This god’s idols must be adorned with tributes of admiration and is considered worthy of the sacrificing of everything else for its honor and glory. In fact, whole industries have arisen for the purpose of making sure this Great Idol is revered by all who see it. Unlike the small stores in India there are whole Malls with acres and acres of stores devoted to adorning your favorite idol. If the citizens of this country stopped buying this idol’s embellishments and offerings the whole of the American economy would collapse overnight. No sacrifice is too great for its glory and worship. For many of those who venerate this sacred image are rewarded with feelings of power and euphoric superiority. Some are even obtain control over their fellow worshippers so as to solicit their worship. True followers of the Christ should be provoked in their spirits at such idolatry. The apostle Paul was. “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was full of idols.” (Acts 16:17) For in every city in America and throughout the world, this god works to reveal his majesty through his loyal followers sacrificing their money and time to glorify his sacred image. As has been previously stated from the heart of this god every idol in the world has come into being. He and his sacred images have in these last days exalted themselves above all other gods. Every day his spiritual sons rise early (or go to bed late) thinking of how to bless, honor and promote their own personal version of the sacred image of this powerful deity. They are willing to defy family, friends or anyone who would hinder their homage to this sacred idol. All this deity’s followers are filled with his spirit and his sons are unconscientiously at work revealing his sacred likeness to all the inhabitants of the world. This god is none other than the god of this world, Satan himself; and his sacred image is the human Self. Self is the last idol that every human heart must either cast down or become forever joined to the fate of its deity. Let no man deceive you; this deity and all who practice his worship through veneration of his scared image (self) will be destroyed. There is but one true God and He has one true image. “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this world has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4) “For this know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God, let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry, because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 5:6 and Colossians 3:6) We, who are alive in Christ, were once venerators of this wicked deity’s sacred image. We were born that way. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lust of our flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children (sons) of wrath just as the others.” (Ephesians 2:1-3) If this sounds too far out for you …ask yourself.… “Why is greed viewed as idolatry in the scriptures?” Why would wanting more and more stuff be constituted as worship of an idol? Why would being stubborn or obstinate constitute idolatry? “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication….and greed which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5) “For rebellion is as witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1Samuel 15:23) If being covetous, greedy, stubborn and obstinate is a form of idolatry then is not I the idol to which this adoration is being given? These acts are preformed for no one else but me. They are what I do when I venerate my Self and its desires. They are the “service of worship” to myself I perform when I follow and fulfill the desires of my fleshly mind. Another question would be ….if I am the idol, the sacred image, then who is the god I represent? Would it not be he who has desired to usurp the only one true God from the beginning? “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! For you have said in your heart; I will ascend to the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14) Satan has coveted, not only the position of God, but God’s predetermined plan to replicate His image throughout the creation. Satan has succeeded in having sons after his likeness and image of rebellion and obstinacy. Truth is that this has been so for about seven thousand years. Eternal death and Eternal life came from two trees that represented the two forms of life. All humanity created in its natural state, could have been filled with either one. One could give the highest form of Life and would result in the most absolute freedom. The other looked like independence yet would result in slavery of the cruelest kind and separation from what is true life. One would make you a son of Heaven; the other would make you a son of Hell. The first tree would allow the image of God to be formed and seen in you. The other would allow the image and nature of Satan to be manifested in your flesh. That is how there came to be … “children of the wicked one” and “sons of disobedience”, whose father is the devil. “For this know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God, let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry, because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 5:6 and Colossians 3:6) “Your father is the devil….” (John 8:44) “The field is the world: the good seed are the children of the Kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one.” (Matthew 13:38) The last and most powerful idol is me. This all important sacred image is none other than my self-life apart from the life of God; … it always has been. When I visited India I always was amazed at the Indians and their devotion to their idols. They would give their idols the best of what they had. Yet is this country’s idolatry much different? Its form of idolatry has them adorning their sacred image with all their energy, money and time. They are tragically unaware that the worship or veneration of themselves is really paying homage to the one in whom their carnal desires and self centered lives reveal ….Satan. In this hour is that so hard to see? Never in the history of man has the image and likeness of Satan been so easy to see. Never has self been so exalted. Never has there been so effective an idol to proliferate the worship of a false god. May the God who created each human to reflect His image and likeness, deliver us from becoming ….the Last Great Idol.