Our Prison is Idolatry

self_reflectionWhat will it take? When will we have eyes to see? If I were to ask you what is the biggest problem today in America, what would you say? Violence, guns, mental health, social media, the news media, corruption… What if I were to tell you that ALL the problems we face today could be narrowed down to a single factor. Is that even possible? A single factor. The greatest problem we face is an ancient problem, it is not new, and most importantly there IS a SOLUTION! The single greatest issue we face today is idolatry, plain and simple. The substitutes we put in place of God.

But this is a people plundered and looted;
they are all of them trapped in holes
and hidden in prisons;
they have become plunder with none to rescue,
spoil with none to say, “Restore!” Isaiah 42:22

The greatest problem we face is idolatry and the mother of all our wicked idolatry is none other than the idol of SELF. The Bible speaks again and again about idolatry and really the whole message of the Bible is very simple – REBELLION, REPENTANCE, RESTORATION. This is the message and the process God uses. For an individual and a nation. Anytime there is a national crisis we immediately hear all the band-aid solutions. More laws, more government, more political talk. Politics is not the answer. Some think maybe education is the key; more education will solve our crises. But education is not the answer. What about more business ventures, after all, if you have all the money you can change the world. Well, resources may help, but Jesus did not do things that way, did he? What about entertainment and media. If we could only get some good people to run all those big media companies. We need good people in media, but that is not the answer. Every crisis gives us the opportunity to recognize our deep need for restoration. Do we really recognize it? “Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see!” (Isaiah 42:18) For God to restore our nation, we must follow HIM and follow his process for restoration. This starts by recognizing our need for him, recognizing our deep offense in his nostrils, our deep rebellion and idolatry. You will never repent of something you don’t consider to be a problem! The problem is the same, the process is the same, the solution is the same.

America is a culture and people of many idols but there is one we MUST crucify. This is because we have one idol that is “queen” or “mother” to many. Remember when King Josiah removed the vessels of Baal and Asherah from the temple. I want to take a look at Asherah because I think it relates to us today. Asherah was known as a mother of the gods in ancient civilizations. The Holman Bible Dictionary states, “According to ancient mythology, Asherah, the mother goddess, was the wife of El and mother of seventy gods, of whom Baal was the most famous.” I think it is important for us to understand when we live in a society that is plagued by idols, and when idols are engrained in every aspects of our culture, it is wise to ask why. Where did all this junk come from? Without being too grand, I simply want to say we have a “mother” of the gods we serve. And this queen of the gods has produced many other destructive little gods. The chief idol of our age is the god of SELF! It really is the “mother” of the gods in our culture. The worship of self has produced all the other little gods. Instead of worshiping Christ, we have worshiped ourselves. The little gods of money and power comes from self love – self love is their mother. The idol of sex comes from the insatiable desire for SELF-gratification. It is extremely important for us to realize that self is “queen” because then we can strike at the root of the problem. If we “lash out” at money, sex, or power, we may get somewhere, but the queen will still be lurking and producing even more little gods.

Galatians 5:22-24 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” We must crucify our idols and pursue Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is the result. You will notice that almost all of the fruits of the Spirit manifest themselves in reference to other people. If we show love, it is to another. If we are kind, it is in reference to another person to whom we show that kindness. If we are faithful, it is faithfulness to God or another person. It is not about me. There is no self in these fruits.

There are many who consider Facebook and Twitter the gods of our age. While I don’t disagree, I ask what are these little gods really about? When you hold that phone in your hand, is it about Facebook or “Selfbook”? We engage in all kinds of activities demonstrating our love of self. Isn’t social media just another way of showing how much we love ourselves. We really are obsessed, not with social media, but with SELF!

We have become little gods. This self adoration has reached its pinnacle with the explosion of self love and worship in a way most of us would never expect. Yet, it is here. It lives and breathes self as supreme god. Self is the mother of all other gods we have enshrined.

 

 

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