This post comes from Calvary Chapel Pastors
Too often, I fear, we put part of our trust in Jesus and part in our Wall Street stock—and so our hearts are divided. I’d go so far as to say that one of the greatest problems today is a double heart. With part of our heart, we want to serve the Lord; and with another part of our heart, we want to follow after the flesh. I know that pull, and I’m pretty sure you do, too.
So many things of this world attract us. I’m personally attracted by intellectualism. I have a strong desire to spend my time studying and learning. Some individuals have so given themselves over to their intellectual prowess that they spend every moment learning, seeking knowledge, and working to pile up facts. It becomes an obsession. It takes over their daily lives until they spend all their time searching and learning. The Bible describes them as “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). As I said, I find this a very attractive allurement for myself.
Others are attracted by pleasure. They live for a thrill, a rush, a wild sensation. They surround their whole lives around moments of exhilaration. Maybe it’s that last-minute field goal or a ninth-inning homerun. Many will spend any amount of money in order to experience that one special, fleeting moment of thrill.
Still others feel attracted by power. They want control, to make others grovel at their feet or beg them for their favor. And so they run for city council, and then state assembly, then state senate, then for the governor’s office, and then finally for the Presidency. All the while they’re thinking, What will the people say? How will they respond? Will they vote for me in the next election? And so they spend an entire lifetime absorbed in developing ever-greater positions of power.
Long ago, people who worshiped pleasure recognized pleasure as their god, and so they carved out a little image and said, “This is Molech. He is the god of pleasure, the god of thrills and excitement.” And so they sat little Molech in their homes and burned incense before him. They lit candles around him and prayed: “Let the surf be up!” They were acknowledging Molech as the god of their life. They were saying, “I live for pleasure. This is more important to me than anything else.”
The only thing they did that we fail to do is to give their desire a physical shape—they made a wooden or stone idol out of it. Those who worshiped power carved a different little idol called Mammon and put him in their homes, built him altars, and offered him their worship. They came and knelt before him and prayed for power over others. Since they recognized they had deified their obsession for power, they were honest about it and said, “I worship power, represented by this little idol.”
Men and women obsessed with intellectual pursuits recognized knowledge as their lord, so they called their god Baal (Baal means “lord”). They made their own little idol, bowed down to him, prayed to him, and burned incense as an acknowledgment of their chief goal in life: to gain knowledge.
Back in Bible days, when God spoke to all these folks about their idol worship, they knew exactly what He was talking about. Today, however, when we read Bible verses about idolatry, we tend to get very smug. “I don’t have any idols,” we say. “I can take you to the family room or the entryway and you won’t see any little god sitting on the table.” And so we proclaim, quite self-righteously that we don’t worship idols—when in reality, we do worship the very same principles that ancient people once personified with little wood or stone gods. Like them, we also prioritize our whole lives around learning, around pleasure, around power, or around some other obsessive desire.
– excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith
continue reading the views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Calvary Southampton