Idolatry

Idolatry

I just returned from India and had one of the most incredible experiences of my life. From the moment I landed in Bangalore, I loved it. It may sound silly and you may wonder how I knew this before I experienced the culture, but when you know you are where God wants you, what’s not to love!  

What I’ve come to love and appreciate so much about the Indians is their hospitality. They are some of the most generous people I’ve met. It was no different than when I was greeted at the airport. 

I was greeted by my dear friends Angel and Jordan and Soumya and Joel (whom you’ve ‘met’ on my blog). I was also met by several of their family members who road the one-hour drive at midnight to welcome this strange woman from America into their country. I hadn’t even left the airport and felt at home. 

My first morning out I strolled Commercial Street in Bangalore with Angel and Soumya. I took in the sites, sounds, and in India, the beautiful and bright colored sarees. I learned there are a variety of styles that are specific for various occasions. 

What attracted my attention most on my first excursion in Bangalore was an elaborate temple to worship their gods. During my 20 day visit, I came to see the number of temples in a town as numerous as the churches you would see in a city in America. There were a variety of temples to worship different gods. 

I don’t know the “purpose” of the few gods I saw, but if you are seeking to serve something, you don’t have to look far because the gods are typically off the side of the road for easy access. They aren’t just hidden behind four walls, many of the statues and practices are also in the open.  

I have always thought how illogical it is that man will bow to an object and believe in a thing with no breadth to meet their needs. Seeing their gods in vast numbers, I saw their religious beliefs in an entirely new way. 

What I was surrounded by was a tangible, outward way to show adoration to demonic forces. Millions of people purposefully welcoming the invisible principalities the Bible tells us we are up against. “...against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

Only a supernatural power can blind the eyes and understanding of man that would give them such passion to believe in something opposed to someone who has life and breath. These idols display and hold the evil Satan has on entire communities. 

I was told there was a woman whose son was ill. She believed so strongly in her god that she offered him to the snake god for healing. Soon after, his skin peeled off like a snake. Most would agree this wasn’t coincidental. Something unexplainable took place. 

When something supernatural happens after a prayer is offered, you’d think the disease would vanish. Of course not! The god she serves, the devil incarnate, seeks to destroy and bring death, not love and life. The Devil is synonymous for death and deceiver. 

Revelation 12:9 tells us exactly who she offered her son to. “This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.” Afterward, his skin was left with boils and sores. 

Why would a mother do something so outrageous to her beloved child? My guess, she’s a believer in supernatural powers. She acknowledges supernatural forces are in her midst in the natural realm. 

I believe she has had previous encounters that could not be explained. A miracle is unexplainable and she was seeking a miracle. She’s a believer.

Satan is powerful and he can perform miracles. But his miracles aren’t more powerful than God’s and he will never produce the same results as God’s. He is a murderer and a liar. John 8:44 He seeks to devour everyone and he was devouring her son. I Peter 5:8. 

Satan is not flesh, never was flesh and will never be as powerful as God. “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.” Hebrews 2:14

It’s my understanding this woman continues to pray to her god and quite possibly multiple gods. There are almost a billion Hindu’s in India with over 330 million idols to choose from. 

And there are those who choose to be their own god. There was a man on my flight from Paris to Bangalore who asked me what my objectivity to life was. I shared with him my purpose for going to India. I told him that I’m a Christian and that overall I live to serve and do God’s will. 

His response, “I am my own God,” and he was quick to qualify it with “I am God and I create my own destiny.” “I’m my own creator.” 

I kept my response rather simple. I told him I believe in one God who created the heavens and the earth. I told him I believed Jesus is the Son of God, died for me, rose again, and that God is omnipotent. I told him I was thankful there was only one creator because I would mess my life up if I was my own creator. 

This man chose to make himself his own god. Others do the same, but they don’t name it. Some live under the delusion it’s a right to get whatever makes them happy, regardless if it’s against God’s law. They seek the god that fits their needs to make a better life for themselves.

IMG_2723.JPG

We visited the Mysore Palace and within the palace grounds are 9 temples. One is dedicated to lord Shiva. One reviewer stated after touring the temple “As you step inside, Trinetra - the three-eyed deity draws your dedication.”

The red float is part of the festival to their god,

Idol is “an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed or any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion.” Dictionary.com

In America, it’s not as common for Americans to physically bow to their gods, but they have gods. A god of choice may be to achieve success the way the world defines it and not God. A god to have bigger and better, i.e., size of home, car, bank account. None of these are bad unless they dominate and consume one's thoughts and life.

Laziness is idolatry. Stubbornness is idolatry. I Samuel. 1:15-22-23

Both seek to serve themselves and get their way.

The man on the plane who said he is his own god and the man who seeks his own path have chosen their idol. Their god is self. 

For those who seek false gods and have supernatural experiences of some kind will more than likely continue on with these practices  until they get what they want, only the enemy will never give them what they seek. Their search is in vain. The enemy will give them enough to keep them from seeking Truth and they will continue to be deceived by the biggest imposter on earth.

Whether one bows and prays to a tangible idol or is dominated by their love and admiration of something other than God, it’s an issue of the heart. All are idolatry. Sin. 

“You must not have any other god but me.” Exodus 20:3

Five simple ways to determine who your god is.

  1. What and whom do you treasure? “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

  2. What thoughts and goals consume you throughout the day and night? 

  3. What topics dominate your conversations with friends? I.e., Career, children, education, cars, shopping? Or is it how God is transforming you into his likeness? Ephesians 5:1-2

  4. How do you serve your church and community? Are you too busy to serve others? Jesus came to serve. Matthew 20:28

  5. Laziness: Idleness produces poverty and you will come to ruin. “Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically” Romans 12:11

    • “Laziness is not the passivity it pretends to be. It is active disobedience to something other than Jesus Christ.” desiringgod.org

    • You are worse than an unbeliever. I Timothy 5:8    

The gods we bow to and the gods that dominate our lives must be demolished. It seems like an insurmountable task that every temple and statue, tangible or of the heart, can be demolished. 

Do we believe that God can physically demolish every temple in India and smash every idol? If we do not believe that God can demolish every temple, then it means we believe less in our God than those who believe in a god that does not exist. 

Ask the Lord to show you if and what idols are in your life. Confess your sins and submit to God.

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. 
— Psalm 32:5

After my return from India, I recognized the two areas I had been disobedient to the Lord were in fact two idols of mine. I held onto them tightly and when the Lord told me to let go, I did not. I found pleasure in them. Check back for the next post on disobedience.

Caribbean Dream of the Caribbean Dream Part Two

Caribbean Dream of the Caribbean Dream Part Two