What is Idolatry?

Idolatry is the act of worshipping or desiring something or someone above God. In the Ten Commandments given to Moses, God said, “There shall be no other Gods before Me.” This commandment refers to idolatry. He knew that people would fall into idolatry easily and it would cost them greatly.

Many people worship or desire people or things that are right to love, such as their children or their country or even a job or career. It is not wrong to love or desire these things. The question is, what place to they have in our lives? What do we make as a priority? Galatians 5: 19-21 calls idolatry an act of the flesh. It says, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, purity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Idolatry is a serious offense before God.

God gave man guidelines that would honor Him and protect them. Idolatry creates a wrong order in people’s lives. In Exodus 20:3-6, God spoke clearly about idolatry and the curse it would bring. “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” There are consequences for who live in idolatry, and a blessing to those that would keep Him first.

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The Bible says that if we have an idol, He will allow us to trust that idol and He will allow us to make our choices. God gives those people a warning. Psalm 16:4 says, “Troubles multiply for those who chase after other Gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their Gods.” But God has promises for those who make Him their first love. Psalm 16:5 says, “Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.” God’s protection is on those that worship Him alone.

God’s love for us is so great that He will not bless us when we neglect to put Him in first place in our lives. When we are out of divine alignment, we cannot contain the blessing of God. It is not until we align rightly that we will see and hear and know the goodness of God. If you are not sure if you have an idol, ask God to show you any areas that need an adjustment. Remember, He is for us and will help us when we call on Him.

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