We’re living in a time where idolatry is subconsciously socially acceptable by the double tapping of a thumb. We’re no longer concerned about our own lives, but we vicariously live out our lives through the Instagram feed of others. For some, it’s just a pass time, for others it’s an indirect way of “keeping up” with the life of someone, and for the majority of us, it has become a place of constant comparison. Brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s be honest, how many times have you’ve scrolled up and down a stream of IG pictures or videos and compared yourself, or possibly even coveted? Whether you admit it or not, did it consciously or subconsciously, the fact is – we’ve all done it. There is a serious consequence to idolatry and the Lord definitely doesn’t approve of it, simply because it only expresses the “ingratitude” we feel about our own lives and our own journey.
Thankfully we have a merciful God that is patient, kind, and slow to anger. As followers of Christ Jesus, we must always remember what he said to us regarding idolatry, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money,” Matthew 6:24. We cannot constantly worry about our inadequacies, our failures or shortcomings, the truth is… God is sufficient and your life is in His hands. We can easily be ensnared by idolatry, simply by just scrolling through social media. In an age of constant information and easy access to it, we need to learn how to stop the buck when it gets out of hand. I highly believe that Satan will use social media and pervert what was intended for good and use it to his advantage. The good news is that we have the authority in Christ to have dominion over what we allow to dwell in our spirit and in our thoughts.
How do we have dominion over our thoughts and prevent it from becoming thoughts of vain imaginations and idolatry? After all, thoughts are likely as fast as the speed of light, can we really stop them? While those thoughts may be coming at you like fiery darts, you have the ability to hold every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, even after it has passed through. You don’t have to agree with it, nor accept it as your own. Simply discard it, repent, and give it to God.
You’re probably thinking, but how do I know if a thought is idolatrous? Well, let’s first identify what is idolatry? Idolatry isn’t just having deep adoration for something, the true essence of idolatry for God is to replace that “thing” or “person” over God (Read Exodus 20:3-5). The depth of idolatry can creep in like a little fox that comes in to ruin the vineyard, it only takes one thought of comparison or ungratefulness, to literally covet. Colossians 3:5 describes what idolatry is, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.” Before Christ, we were disobedient and likely ignorant to Satan’s devices. Today, I encourage you to evaluate your thoughts and determine whether they are idolatrous. Do not let those thoughts overrule you, define you, or create something in you that is displeasing to the Lord. After all, we have a responsibility to control and monitor what we think. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
So how do I know if a desire or a thought is idolatrous? A good rule of thumb is to always use the filter of the Holy Spirit. When a thought comes through, ask yourself – is this true, is it noble, is it right, is it pure, is it lovely and admirable? If you cannot answer this with sincerity, something is off. If you take a look at the story of Hannah in the book of Samuel, you can see how Hannah desired deeply to be a mother, but was barren. Peninnah, the second wife of Elkanah, was a very bitter woman. She had the ability to bear children for Elkanah, but the idea that Elkanah loved Hannah more, consumed her. She did everything in her power to make Hannah feel miserable for not bearing children. Peninnah’s idol was her husband. Hannah didn’t want children to supersede Peninnah, nor to gain more value in the sight of her husband – she simply yearned to be a mother. Hannah understood the importance of depending on God for her needs and not allowing a deep desire to become more important than the presence of God. She did what any devoted person to God would do, she put it in prayer and vowed to give this son, if granted, back to God. It takes a strong woman to be able to let go of what you so deeply yearn to have. That’s a good sign that the gift did not become an idol for her, her first love was God. Later we see how the Lord not only answered her prayer, but gave her more than what she asked for. 1 Samuel 2:21 says, ” And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters.”
What is the ultimate lesson? We must always depend on God and thank Him for what He has already given us. As social media takes on different forms and evolves, we must make sure that we’re transformed by the renewal of our minds. Hope this blesses you and ministers to your life. God bless.