By: Dr. Steven C. Riser
1 John 5:21 – “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”
1 Corinthians 10:14 – “My dear friends, flee from idolatry.”
IV. What Are Some of The Negative Consequences of Idolatry?
Be careful who or what you worship because you will become what you worship; you will become like the object or the one you worship. Everyone has an ultimate object of love and loyalty. What’s most important to us determines what’s very important to us. Our core values flow out of the ultimate object of our love and allegiance. The person you truly worship will control you. Even secular people realize this.
Have you ever heard someone say, “She worships her husband”? Such people are saying that they live for the one they worship. You don’t have to be motivated or forced into it, it just naturally happens. Worshipping the wrong god guarantees we have wrong values, resulting in wrong decisions and actions.
Don’t create and worship your own false god; spend your time getting to know the One and only true God (Ex. 20:3, 4). God won’t compete with other gods. He won’t share His glory with other gods or other things.
Do you remember the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indiana Jones’ nemesis took the Idol away from Indiana Jones and the hostile natives were all around them and he held the Golden Idol over his head? Do you remember what happened next? All the natives fell down and knelt before the Golden Idol.
In America today, most people aren’t likely to kneel down before the Golden Idol, but these are a few of the things we will kneel before: houses, cars, boats, sports, TV’s, money, job, self, spouse and children.
It does matter what you believe in and what is the ultimate authority for our lives. It does matter who we worship and who is the ultimate object of our love and loyalty. Idolatry is a LIE that is destructive, dangerous, and ultimately, it’s deadly. What’s the LIE? The LIE is: there is some ONE or some THING more important than the one true God.
That LIE comes from the pit of hell and it smells like smoke!
If you want to see some of the negative consequences of idolatry, see Romans 1:21-32, where Paul lists 24 sins resulting from not giving God His proper place in our lives:
- For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.
- Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
- Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
The negative consequences that result from idolatry are too numerous to mention. But when we carry poison in our blood stream it affects every part of the body. When our god is the wrong god, our ultimate object of love and loyalty is wrong, our perspective or worldview is unrealistic, our core values are wrong, our feelings are often inappropriate, our thinking is confused, our heart is hard, our conscience is callous, our morals are corrupt, our relationships are unhealthy, our decisions are unwise and our actions are sinful. Whether we realize it or not, the sin of idolatry adversely affects every aspect of our being. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Finally…