Three of the things God despises are worldliness, idolatry and materialism and I think these go hand in hand and are almost synonymous. God wants your complete and total commitment to Him. He does not want to share loyalties with anyone or anything else. He should be the one and only God in our life. We should serve Him and Him alone.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor 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 generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
1 John 5:21
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
‘I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God.
And who can proclaim as I do?
Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me,
Since I appointed the ancient people.
And the things that are coming and shall come,
Let them show these to them.
Do not fear, nor be afraid;
Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?
You are My witnesses.
Is there a God besides Me?
Indeed there is no other Rock;
I know not one.'”
Those who make an image, all of them are useless,
And their precious things shall not profit;
They are their own witnesses;
They neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed.
So, what is an idol, anyway? Back in Biblical times, people carved images out of wood or stone, or molded them from metal such as gold, silver, brass or bronze. I think this still goes on, not only in third world countries with Buddhism and voodoo, for example, but also in ‘advanced societies’ where people may bow down and pray to statues and pictures of Mary and Jesus or whatever. Not only that, but people also put hope in horoscopes and astrology or healing stones, when their trust should be in Jesus Christ and only Him, the ultimate healer and Redeemer.
But, I also think anything that takes away our devotion and attention from God can be an idol. For example, how much time do we sit in front of the TV versus time with God? I know I am guilty of this.
Work, sports, food, addictions, sex, even family can become idols if we let them get in the way of our relationship with God. And, in today’s society, the big one is money and ‘stuff’. Materialism. Pride. Lust. Greed. Gluttony. Covetousness.
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
I don’t think He means you can’t enjoy life or have things. I think He means that Christ needs to be not just a priority but the priority. Does our life surround around our worldly desires or is Christ the center of our lives? Are we influenced by our friends, coworkers, family or do we influence them? I love the quote in the movie, God’s Not Dead 2…”I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God.” I want to live like that. God is faithful to give you strength when you are tempted by the world. Trust in Him. Let the Holy Spirit, who lives in all believers, guide you.
1 John 4:4-6
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
1 Peter 4:1-6
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
I want to be used by God to bless others with those things that He has blessed me with. I don’t want any of the stuff of this world hinder me from doing what is right, from keeping my eyes on Jesus, from living in a way that honors Him. I hope people see Christ in me and that His love shows through me.