These next two trends can actually be considered a form of idolatry based upon the writings of the apostle Paul. In the first three chapters of the book of Romans Paul lays out a judicial case concerning the guilt of the entire world before God. More specifically it is in chapter one where he reveals the forms idolatry to be addressed in this week’s blog. Note the apostle’s words:
Romans 1:22-25 (NASB) Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Since the fall of man human beings have turned away from the truth of God in search for something better and more fulfilling only to be left destitute spiritually, emotionally, and physically. From the earliest of times mankind has sought to replace God with himself, and this couldn’t be truer than the day in which we live. Note verse twenty-three above in which Paul states in essence that man has sought to exchange the glory of God for his own form of glory. The “incorruptible” for the “corruptible,” in other words, that which is not subject to decay for that which is rotten to the core.
Throughout my ministry I’ve been asked numerous times this simple question, “Is man basically good or basically evil?” One really doesn’t have to know the Scriptures in order to realize that man is evil, simply look at the world around us with its unbridled appetite for debauchery. As I’ve taught congregants through the years, no parent has ever had to teach his or her child how to lie, steal, or cheat. Good parents recognize the need to teach their children right from wrong because it is within our nature to do what is evil.
The point is, we are selfish egocentric creatures, and apart from Jesus Christ we seek to become our own gods. The main reason for divorce in our society is not because of money issues, children, sex, or in-laws, but because of a selfish desire to be “happy” no matter the cost or effects it has on others. We see this through the alienation of affection of parents for their children, men for their wives and vice versa. In our society we no longer know how to exercise self-control or delayed gratification. The mentality that most Americans have can best be summed up in a statement from a previous blog, “I want what I want when I want it, and I want it now.”
This next trend is also associated with the Roman passage above. When Paul states, “and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” he is referring to the worship of what is created rather than worshiping God Himself. There has been such a strong emphasis placed upon being “green” for the last twenty-five years that many individuals put environmental issues and saving the earth above everything else. God has called us to be good stewards of this earth and the resources entrusted to our care, but the earth and all that is within it was created by God and was never meant to be worshiped. When we place a greater value upon a plant or a tiny insect than we do the life of an unborn child who was created in the image of God, then we have a problem with idolatry.
This last disturbing trend is a path that America has been on for quite some time. It is a path that more and more people are following with greater frequency each year in our country. It’s a path of ignorance that one consciously chooses to follow and which leads away from God.
In the book of Hosea God makes a statement regarding his wife Israel in which she makes a choice to no longer acknowledge the One who has the power to save her. Note these words in Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” It’s not a lack of knowledge for which the people of Israel would be chastised, but literally for refusing to acknowledge God .
Every few years different organizations conduct studies concerning the religious attitudes and beliefs of America. These studies routinely indicate that Americans are walking away from God and His church at a rapid rate. Many are adopting new philosophies and religious beliefs that are contrary to the Word of God which leads to destruction, not only for the individual but often times for the family members who follow them.
The only hope we have in reversing these trends if at all, is to live with a sense of urgency knowing that Christ will soon return, and that we have a responsibility as His followers to make an eternal difference in the lives of those around us. As Christians, we need to be better stewards, better teachers, better neighbors and friends in order to influence this present world in which we live. I would encourage you to find new and innovative ways to share solid doctrinal teachings with your children and grandchildren. Educate them with a goal to educate others. If you do your part as a Christian and I do mine we can make a difference for the glory of Christ Jesus.
Christ be with you