Spiritual Idolatry

 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. [from on high] -- Ephesians 6: 12

 

To understand this teaching, you must realize that we are in a spiritual competition every day pertaining to everything that we do.The Scripture above states clearly that our battle is not with flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers from the rulers of the darkness of this world.We compete against people who are influenced by devil spirits.This should not scare you, but think about it logically.If the person is not walking by the spirit of God, he is influenced by the world which is run and controlled at the present time by the devil himself.When you speak to people, do not think that you are talking to a devil spirit.This is not what Iím trying to teach from this Scripture.You can try your best to manifest the love of God toward these people, but what I am saying is that what they do and say may be and probably is influenced by the god of this world.That is why you must be very careful and you should not fellowship or hang around with people who are unbelievers.This is referred to clearly in the Bible in more than one place as fellowship with darkness.You must have God first and foremost in your life at all times.When you put anything at all before God, you are practicing idolatry.

 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. -- Matthew 6: 33

 

This verse tells you about the importance and the command to keep God first in your life.If anything else comes before God, your life will eventually crumble and why would you want that to happen?When you keep God first, everything falls into its proper place and time.

 

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:Fear [reverence or respect] God, and keep his commandments:for this is the whole dutyof man. -- Ecclesiastes 12: 13

 

We were designed to live by Godís Word.However, when we donít, by our own free will, we become a society of copycats and parasites never making free will decisions because Matthew 6: 33 is just words to us and not reality. We then turn to idolatry. Do you want to be an individual making your own decisions, not influenced by the God of this world?Then you must STUDY AND APPLY GODíS WORD each and every day.It is yourday by day decision.I can share Godís Word with you Ė I CANNOT believe and ACT for you!The above paragraph and verse was taken from a previous teaching called ďGOD FIRSTĒ.We learn by repetition, constant repetition and we need to read Godís Word over and over again until we understand it and apply it.Perhaps you should read ďGOD FIRSTĒ before you continue.I plan on teaching specific instances of idolatry so that you can identify with the teaching and apply it to your everyday experiences.

 

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.Amen.Ė I John 5: 21

 

This is a most important Scripture that addresses this teaching specifically and you should study it and learn it well by heart.It is very short and easy to learn.I am also going to give you a literal translation of this verse to help you to understand it completely in your heart.

 

Literal:

My little children, you are to seek no help, guidance, or instruction from any other source other than your heavenly Father.

 

Only the believer who stands fast in the Lord and is renewing his mind every day will have the discipline to push idolatry aside.In other words, he keeps God first regardless of the situation or circumstances that surround him.He does not give up and quit when the going gets a little tough, but he learns how to deal with tribulation knowing that tribulation is really a message to his heart that he is doing the right thing.The enemy will never attack you when youíre doing nothing for God.Itís when youíre in the thick of things and moving Godís Word and studying and sharing Godís Word that the enemy will come at you.God says you should rejoice at these times and not complain.

 

I John 5: 21 seems hard to accept, but it is truth and many of us never see the results of adhering to this verse because we never apply it.Again, can you imagine that we are not to seek any help or any guidance or any instruction from any other source in this whole world except God Almighty?Now donít take this the wrong way because many times when you go to God for instruction, He will tell you to go somewhere and to see a certain person possibly for some help.This is the case many times with medical situations.I, one time, took this verse to an extreme and suffered for three years with a medical problem.I just kept saying to myself that I am only going to the arm of God.But God, in His heart, was trying to get me to seek medical attention and when I finally did, I was healed within a matter of months.I can never forget this time in my life.I used to walk my dog almost every single day and I suffered so badly with a movement in my hand that would not stop that I actually wore out the pockets in many of my pants.I used to cry when I walked Ė it was horrible.So as you see, I am not perfect.I am just like you Ė we are equals.Thatís the way God set it up.The most critical part of understanding this verse is that God wants you to go to Him FIRST.If you go to Him for help, guidance and instruction and the problem persists, then God wants you to go wherever you have to go to get healed and to get blessed.This all relates to our believing or lack of it.

 

When we go back to the original King James Version, God says to keep yourself from idols.

Letís repeat it again:

 

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.Amen.Ė I John 5: 21

 

An idol can be so many things that Iím going to try to touch on some of the more common idols today.Most people donít even know God exists, let alone study His Word.Itís a shame today and this world is self-destructing.People worship computers.They worship their cell phones.They worship their trucks, television, sports is a big one, music to extremes, cars, MONEY etc., to infinity. All extremes emanate from the god of this world and fall into the category of idolatry.These people are run and controlled, possessed and influenced by the god of this world who has successfully distracted them from knowing and applying and standing approved before the true God Almighty.I feel bad for these people in many ways but they all have their free will and there is not much you can do except to love them the best you can and if you can, share the Word with them.Every person has their own free will and you cannot force someone to believe and you cannot believe for them.People get caught up in a materialistic lifestyle where they do not own their material things, but those material things own them.

 

Before I get into some specifics of Spiritual Idolatry, I want to mention a companion teaching that will greatly help you solve any and all opportunities you may be having with spiritual idolatry and that teaching is ďThe Importance Of BURNING THE CHAFFĒ.All of these three teachings talk about idolatry, but I wanted this present teaching to stress the specifics of the subject, its source and why.God abhors idolatry.After He has given us so much, some of us simply ignore Him.How many people do you know that pray every day?!How many people read and study and apply Biblical principles every day?I am going to show you from Godís Word what is the end result of an idolatrous, materialistic lifestyle.I have used these Scriptures before, but it seems, as pertaining to this teaching, that they fit just perfectly.

 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thievesbreak through and steal:But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.-- Matthew 6: 19 Ė 21

 

For those of you who have not read this before, Iím going to spell it out for you because this principle is most important.Most of us fall into this trap.It is very strong and very tempting to load up on material things that we really do not need.The first part of the Scripture says not to lay up or for yourselves treasures upon the earth.This is, of course, referring to material things where moth and rust will contribute to their corruption.We let material things that we buy sit around forever and ever and eventually they can literally begin to rust and they become nothing but junk and clutter up our living space which can definitely include our garage and our yard.Also, and in reality, a thief can break through and steal what you own.God can be using a figure of speech here referring to your peace of mind which is hard to have when youíre overloaded with material things which amount to a bunch of junk.You should know this Scripture by heart where God says in Corinthians:

 

Let all things be done decently and in order.Ė I Corinthians 14: 40

 

Itís so simple if we would just listen but I am telling you that this is the main area where we have problems.We just wonít listen to God by our own free will.So we wind up gathering all these material things and we start to worship them and that is IDOLATRY.In the next verse which is verse 20, God says He wants you to lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.Well, how can we do that when weíre still here on earth?This is obviously a figure of speech where God wants us to put our thoughts and our thinking and even our material things where they relate to God.Many people, when I recommend that they buy certain research books and tell them that those books are worth tons of money, actually, donít listen to me.Theyíll go out and buy something for their cell phone.I found out in this life that this may be the greatest weakness that we have as believers -- the fact that we simply do not listen to God.Remember that.If you lay up a treasure in heaven and you memorize a bunch of Scriptures, rust cannot corrupt this because the Word is in your heart.Thieves cannot break through and steal it because again, itís in your heart.It is protected by God Almighty and itís not nice to mess with God.God uses another figure of speech in the last part of these verses.He says where your treasure is, your heart will be there also.You will see in the literal translation that treasure is referring to your thoughts.Isnít that beautiful?Iíve been told I had great ability as far as writing is concerned and being able to reach peopleís hearts.But compared to God Almighty Iím #100 and Heís #1.Thatís fine with me.I always want to learn from someone whoís a master at what they do.I will mention to you that I went to a major university for about five years and I never really used my degree with the exception of one subject and that is English and English grammar.I do believe that God had me go to college simply so that I could do this website and do it correctly.Now, I am going to take you to the literal translation of this verse and you will see many similarities in what Iíve just reviewed and taught you.

 

Let not your thoughts be centered in material things where fears and worries breed defeat and frustration, and where the doubts break through and steal your thoughts:But let your thoughts be centered in the Spirit, where neither fear nor worry breeds defeat and frustration, and where doubts do not break through and steal your thoughts.For where your thoughts are, there will be your heart be also.Ė Matthew 6: 19 - 21

 

Notice the terms in the literal that we are more familiar with in our day and time.The literal mentions fears and worries which result in defeat and frustration.I have at times experienced this feeling.Then when I sold something material that I didnít need, I felt like an albatross was taken from around my neck.Itís really an amazing experience and one that you should try.Put something on eBay and get rid of it if youíre not using it.You simply feel much better.God knows how to live life and we think that we do.Now look again at the literal and it says that doubts break through our minds and they steal our thoughts.This means that we should be thinking on positive and blessed things, but yet we have doubt because we are not at peace within ourselves.Why, we have those two cars outside in the yard on blocks and we just canít get to them.Itís just enough to drive one crazy, isnít it?But if we center our thoughts on God and spiritual matters, neither fear nor worry can breed defeat and frustration and doubts donít break through and mess up your mind.Again, where your thoughts are, thatís where your heart will be also.Itís been said that a person that could come up with a pill for peace would make $1 billion if not more.We can have peace if we simply listen to God and not practice idolatry which is the accumulation of material things which frustrate you and defeat you.Itís amazing that we have this choice, isnít it?Well, who contributes to this mistake that we make almost constantly?We all have a personal adversary.When I say personal, I mean personal.He knows your life inside out and backwards and he knows all your likes and dislikes and he knows all your strengths and your weaknesses.But the Word of God in your renewed mind is greater than anything this adversary can throw at you.You must know what the Word of God says and that means you must study.Itís not a bummer.Why would I be doing this for so long if it didnít work?I sit here for hours and hours sharing my heart with you for actually absolutely nothing monetary in return.I couldnít care less.The Word of God burns in my heart to the point where I must share it with others.Now if Iím getting back nothing from God, then I have to be crazy.I get many letters sometimes, actually few lately because people are copping out.But some people are thrilled at what I teach them and believe me it just comes second nature to me.I have had so many experiences in life that what good are they unless I share them with you.I want to remove all doubt in your mind and help convince you that the Word of God works with a mathematical exactness and scientific precision every single time.Only God is the one source in this world that will not let you down.Only God.

 

Now, letís take a look at two Scriptures in Proverbs that will make a positive impact on your life.This will show you the difference between someone who lives in an idolatrous fashion as compared to a person who respects God and lives a simple life.

 

Better islittle with the fear [respect] of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.Better isa dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.Ė Proverbs 15: 16, 17

 

The simpler you live, the less temptation you will have to worship a material object.God states that it is better to respect Him and have very little than it is to have a lot of treasure and money which breeds a lot of trouble and headaches.Also, the dinner example is a great one, donít you think?So true.

 

The only way I could relate this to you in a manner in which I think you will understand is to tell you a story Ė a true story Ė about myself and my wife.When we first met, we had very little.I graduated college and moved to where she was and there were simply no jobs available in this area.I had no electricity in my apartment so I ran a wire down from her apartment which was above me and then I was able to turn on a lamp.I did something similar with the telephone.Okay, it may not have been exactly the right thing I shouldíve done but it was harming no one.My wife and I often look back on those simple times when we had very little material things and yet we were the happiest that we ever were.Now you figure that out.You donít need material things and you donít need a lot of money to be happy and blessed and full of joy.You need Godís Word living in your heart and in your actions.Can you identify with this simple example?Iíll bet many of you can. And notice how the love of God is mentioned in verse 17.It is essential to have love in a home if you are going to relax and enjoy life.Some people may have a fancy major type of meal, but yet there is jealousy and hatred in that family.Which family would you choose to be in?Thatís what God is trying to tell us here Ė thatís the lesson of these two Scriptures.

 

Spiritual idolatry will always lead to some type of negative in your life and also in the lives of the people that you associate with.We have a choice as to which way we want to live.God never oversteps a man or womanís free will.Make the right choice.

 

Now I want to go back to the New Testament and take a look at the reason or the cause of all of these problems.So often man treats the effects of a bad situation, but if you remove the cause, the effects will disappear.Here is the cause of idolatry and I know youíve heard this before but give it some thought and this teaching will become clearer to you.We are going to study a section in I Timothy chapter 6, verses 7 to 10.

 

7.For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

 

I watched a doctor once have an auction because he was moving to a different location.This was something I never forgot and I never will.He didnít have one television to auction off Ė he had about five.He had a pool table and he had about three or four different telephones.He had multiples of everything.Now it is impossible to use more than one telephone at a time. It is not possible to watch more than one television in different rooms at one time.But you see, with all the money that he made, he did not know what to do with it so he turned to idolatry.He worshiped material things and obviously lived a materialistic lifestyle.God is trying to say in the above Scripture that we didnít bring anything into this world, did we?And God is certain and we should be also know that we cannot carry anything out.So you should be able to see that spiritual idolatry as a result of a materialistic lifestyle is coming from the counterfeit god.He can trick almost anyone and you must be strong in the Word to resist.

 

8.And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

 

Having food and raiment should be enough for us to be content.But I will tell you something that God will do for us. He will also give us a number of desires of the flesh also.You know that most good Christians do not just have clothes and food.They have many other things, but they are material things that they need and use in this life either for their job or for some type of enjoyment.But, if we only had food and clothes, God says we should be content.

 

9.But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

 

Now here it is, the point that we are building up to.Rich people fall into much temptations and snares or traps.They fall into many foolish and hurtful lusts.Lust means over-desire Ėmuch more than you need.And they drown men, I like to use the term choke, in destruction and perdition.Could God put it any plainer?Could he make it any easier for us to understand?As the old clichť goes, money does not buy happiness and it is true.In fact, it can cause you to fall into many traps and hurtful lusts which result in your destruction.

 

10.For the love of money is the root [root system] of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

 

Why do people turn to spiritual idolatry when God so clearly states the negative effects of such a lifestyle?There is only one reason and one reason alone and verse 10 tells you what that reason is.In the literal translation of this verse, the word root is translated root system.Oh believe me, the enemy is systematic.He is the master and inventor of deception so do not think he is not good at it and donít, for one minute, think that you canít be fooled because you can.Remember that the more Word of God that you have in your mind, the stronger and more resilient you become.Only the Word of God rightly divided with the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation in a believer defeats the devil.

 

It is the love of money that is the root system of all the evil that is in the world today.People try to get as much money as they can and some of them succeed.Then they donít know what to do with all that money, so they start buying things.They forget about God. They say Ďwho needs God Ė look at all the things that I haveí.You see itís a trick Ė itís a trap and itís brought about by the god of this world.If you love money, believe me, you are in serious trouble.I actually have more money than I know what to do with, but it just sits in a bank.Iím not going to buy a bunch of junk and have it hanging around.Iím going to buy what I need in life and what blesses me.No, Iím not going to buy five televisions.This love of money will answer your question as to why spiritual idolatry exists today and has since the beginning of time.Itís written right there for you in black and white.†† The latter part of the verse says people covet after money.They desire it more than anything in the world and it causes them to err from their faith in God Almighty.They become distracted and tempted all the time because of their love for money.And what happens to them?They pierce themselves through with many sorrows.They live a miserable life, but they will try to act like theyíre happy.They worship their material things and God has no place in their life.This only leads to destruction where your life will be stolen from you, you will be killed, or you will be destroyed.Take a look at John 10: 10a.There is where you will see the devilís ministry.Your free will to obey God and His Word is the only solution Ė itís the only way out.Believe me, I know.I mustíve tried everything in my life and finally, I found God through His Word and I was delivered from a horrible lifestyle and thatís why I sit here hour after hour and year after year sharing His Word with you.Itís that great.Now I am going to go to an example in Luke that reflects very closely to what Iíve already said in this paragraph.The following are Godís words in Luke Ch. 12: verses 16 to 21.

 

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

 

And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

 

And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

 

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, andbe merry.

 

But God said unto him, Thoufool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee:then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

 

So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

 

After I review these verses, I am going to tell you about a neighbor I have that is worse than this example.You are almost not going to believe what I tell you and itís the truth.Itís a mind-blower Ė youíll see.If you like some of my stories, youíre going to love this one!

 

Ok, back to Luke.Jesus Christ starts out by simply describing a rich man who continues to increase his riches.In the second verse (v. 17), he tells you what the man is thinking within or to himself.ďWhat am I going to doĒ he thinks ďI donít have any more room to store all of my material things?!ĒThen the Scriptures say that he has come up with an idea.ďI will tear down my barns and build bigger ones and then I will have all the room I need.ĒNotice how his material wealth owns him!.......... and regulates his life.†† Now watch this.Then he says to himself ďSoul, you have laid up all these material things and goods for many years and now it is time to take it easy and eat, drink and be merry.ĒWatch what Satan has planned for this guy.He does this to many people just when they think they have it made.In this case God Almighty relayed the message to him.God doesnít kill anyone Ė Satan is the author of death.God said to the man ďYOU DAMN FOOL, you are going to die tonight, then what are you going to do with all this material junk?ĒďWho are you going to give it to?What great plans do you have now?ĒAnd then Jesus Christ ends the example by warning people that this is what happens to people who constantly lay up treasures for themselves.This is what happens to people who love money and God has no place in their life.Your riches and desires should be in a spiritual lifestyle, not in Spiritual Idolatry.Go ahead.Think of some unbelievers you know that hoard every penny they can for their retirement and a week, month or year after retirement, they die.Satan has no mercy.You need to be spiritually sharp and keep God first and foremost in your life.

 

Although this teaching is long, I HAVE to tell you about my neighbors.I guess I shouldnít say this, but I refer to them as barbarians.They live for and worship material things Ė always trying to show them off and starving for all the attention they can get.They dislike me because I have developed the art of ignoring the devil.

 

Ok, here we go. Are you ready for this?This guy owns a small construction company and once described to me his equipment, when I first met him, and I remember so clearly that he raised his hands up in the air and he said ďAnd I own it all!!Ē as if it were a cry of triumph.He then told me that he couldnít care less about neighbors, what they think, how much he may aggravate them etc., etc.,I seriously suspected a touch of insanity.Remember, I once worked in a State Hospital.I was his closest neighbor.I knew it was Satan and got away from him as soon as possible.I knew God was going to require me to use every ounce of spiritual knowledge and strength I had to deal with this opportunity.It still goes on to this day.I finally figured out this guy was born of the seed of the serpent!Thatís right.It happens.He doesnít know it Ė he is completely controlled Ė very dangerous and threatened to kill me once because I countered every move he made and it really got to him.He never came up against a true believer before.Anymore, I simply donít react -- ignore and avoid.

 

One day I was putting up some lights for the holiday on my back deck.His 4 or 5 year old son was yelling obscenities to me from his porch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!You SOB, you no good ba_ta_d, FY, FY etc.I was in a daze.Maybe you believe me now.I am going to give you a list of the material things that own him.

 

I love dogs, but he had 3 of them and one used to bark loudly morning to night.He has about 5 RTVís and a motocross track in his 2-acre lot.The smaller kids have 2 Indy like small motorized cars.He has a very loud dirt bike.My one neighbor put up a $4000 fence. They have snowmobiles and Skidoos for the water.He has a large river boat with the large pontoons.His wife has a large pickup truck.They have a Buick Crossover.The daughter has an SUV.There is also another vehicle used by the daughter.THERE ARE THREE LARGE PICKUP TRUCKS Ė two are diesel powered with stacks for exhausts and noise.They have a yard tractor, riding mower, log splitter and recently bought a second foreclosed house to store some of their junk!!Sound like Luke?This is all the time I will give to this madman.

 

What do you think is going to happen to this family in the long run?Read Luke again and you will find out.Materialism becomes an obsession and can slowly drive a person insane.Maybe some of you now appreciate your neighbors a little more.Ephesians 6: 12.Why is this trying to affect me?This website is driving the devil insane and I wonít stop.And I had to expose his Number 1 pawn.Now back to the Scriptures and the root cause of all negative results.Along with the love of money, FEAR IS THE BELIEVERíS ONLY ENEMY.It begins with doubt, then worry, then fear.Fear is believing in reverse.

 

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.Ė I Timothy 1: 7

 

Anyone that does not keep God first in their life will become fearful and eventually practice spiritual idolatry.That is all that the world has to offer you.And the only source that roots out fear in a personís life is an accurate knowledge of the rightly divided Word of God.So you have two choices.The Wordís way or the Worldís way.Just get the Ďlí out of the world and youíll have the Word.When people have fear, it will control their life and they will do almost anything to escape that fear.Spiritual idolatry is one counterfeit solution.Satan will make it work for a while until you need that power the most.Then he pulls the rug out from under you and youíre flat on your face.Just like the example in Luke.Donít forget it.

 

The following Scriptures are from I John 2: 15, 16, and 17:

 

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

 

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

 

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

 

Verse 15 is self-explanatory.Verse 16 is the major point that I want to stress Ė it is most important to understand this verse.I Corinthians 4: 4 tells us that, at the present time, the devil is the god of this world.And in that world, there are only 3 things:the lust (over-desire) of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.Notice the word Ďlustí being used twice.Lust is over-desire Ė wanting something to an extreme.You may own 2 televisions, but you want the latest model, even though you donít need it.Remember that God supplies our needs, and not our greeds.This lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is what provokes and tempts us to get involved in idolatry.

 

Set your affection [thinking and desires] on things above [spiritual matters], not on things on the earth.Ė Colossians 3: 2

 

How can you set your thinking on spiritual matters if you donít study Godís Word?So, remember you only have only two choices Ė worship the true God or worship the world.

 

Verse 17, in I John above, tells us that this present world will pass away and, of course, the lust will pass away with it.But, in this present time, he that doeth [PRACTICES] the Will of God will abide forever.We will live for all eternity.

 

Finally, I am going to repeat something from other teachings that is a massive help for you to not get deceived into practicing idolatry.I use this key all the time Ė it relates to temptation. I memorized this verse.WHEN YOU ARE TEMPTED, IT IS ALWAYS WRONG.If you go shopping for something, be aware that you will be tempted to purchase things that you donít need.Temptation is a great contributor to idolatry Ė one of the strongest.Remember, you always have free will.Here is what God says about temptation.

 

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:but God isfaithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.Ė I Corinthians 10: 13

 

Literal:

There is no temptation you will face that man has not already seen.God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted by anything greater than you can handle.And also, with the temptation, He will make a way for you to escape in a way that you can bear it.

 

Better isan handful withquietness, than both the hands full withtravail and vexation of spirit.Ė Ecclesiastes 4: 6

 

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