Encourage Each Other to live lives fully devoted to Him.

                  Idolatry of the heart

“Give me children, or I die!” – Rachel  Genesis:30:1.

Three!- The number of children Miranda, 24, said she must have to be happy. Her idol. Her god. Miranda had silky, smooth, brown flowing hair that swayed in the fresh light air breeze of Manhattan. The languid flames of the firepit needed more fuel to stay alive. The firey flames resembled her current situation in her mind- still alive but slowly dying. Kailee, Miranda’s best friend,  whispered, “How are you doing, Miranda?” Miranda murmured, “okay.” Miranda wanted to get married. Miranda desired children so much that marriage wasn’t even about the marriage anymore. Miranda wanted to get married to have children. Miranda’s father died in a horrific car accident at five years old. Being a foster child, Miranda desired to be loved more than anything else. The type of love that is unconditional. Unrefuted. Always there. Always accessible. She worshipped the god of children at all costs. Children would make her happy. Satisfy her desires, and make everything okay. Children=happiness. 

What is Idolatry? 

Idolatry is anything that dominates our mind, will, and affection that is on par with God or more than God in our hearts. What does God’s Word say about Idolatry? 

Exodus 20:3- You shall have no other Gods before me. 

Matthew 22:37-38- You shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  (Our one and true devotion is to him for His glory and worship.)

At the heart of Idolatry is a lie. Believing that something else will satisfy us more than God. Rachel wanted Children so much that she wanted to die because she wasn’t getting what she thought would make her happy. Rachel was coveting the children of her sister Leah! Why is it that beautiful Rachel was barren, but her sister produced many children? Ironically, how does the story end? Rachel dies in childbirth. The thing she desired so much ended up being destructive to the point of her death. 

Idolatry is rooted in unbelief- When we don’t believe Christ can satisfy us, Idols come to offer everything they can provide to replace Christ and His satisfaction. It’s tangible. 

How do we know when we’ve gone from a good desire to idolatry? 

When we are willing to sin to get it. When the desire consumes our thoughts, desires, affection, and will. When our life is centered on something other than God, His glory, and His purposes. When you have another god. (gods lower g is anything that is an idol in your life.)

Another example of Idolatry- 

32 Remember Lot’s wife.

33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

Lot’s wife disobeyed God because she was attached to Her city and Her people. She was told not to look back because Sodom was being destroyed for its sin. But she looked back at the city. And it cost her the one life she had.

Moses’ example-

We can look to Moses’ example, who was tempted to sin but chose Christ instead. 

Hebrews: 24-26

24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, srefused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 tchoosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy uthe fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 vHe considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to wthe reward. 

Our minds and Idols

In Colossians:3 and Ephesians:4, Paul outlines the connection between our minds and obedience. If we are fully committed to Christ and His Kingdom, our minds and hearts will be set on Him. Part of worshipping God truly is setting our minds on him and not other things.

Colossians 3:2- Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth……….

5- Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. On account of these things, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 

But now you also, lay them all aside: wrath, anger, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you put off the old man with its evil practices, and have put on the new man who is being renewed to a full knowledge according to the image of the One who created him………..

So as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another, and graciously forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord graciously forgave you, so also should you. Above all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 

In Ephesians, Paul talks about the Gentiles who walk in the futility of their minds-

Therefore this I say, and testify in the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind. 

Conclusion

We are heart idolaters. What is it that we want that we think will make us happy? That we have to have? Is it power? Respect? Fame? Marriage? Relationships? Finances? Friends? Praise? As Christians, we have a new Heart (Ezekiel 36:26). We have a new disposition. But we aren’t perfect. Inordinate desires can fill our hearts. But our allegiance and what we live for is Christ and Him crucified as the center of our lives. We were bought at a price. And are so thankful for what we have in Him. To live is Christ.

The words of the Apostle Paul Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Galatians 2:20-

“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” 

1 Corinthians 6:9

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Nor idolaters will inherit the kingdom of God.

Loving God with your mind

You are a product of your thinking

The Story of Ted Bundy- Credit to ATI (All that is interesting)

During the spring and summer of 1974, police in the Pacific Northwest were in a panic. Young women at colleges across Washington and Oregon were disappearing at an alarming rate, and law enforcement had few leads as to who was behind it.

In just six months, six women had been abducted. Panic in the area reached a fever pitch when Janice Ann Ott and Denise Marie Naslund disappeared in broad daylight from a crowded beach at Lake Sammamish State Park…….. he didn’t fit the profile.

He was convicted of kidnapping and assault and sent to prison while police attempted to build a murder case against him. Just before his execution, he said this-

“I’ve lived in prison a long time now. I’ve met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence just like me. And without exception, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography.

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Our thinking impacts our actions. Maybe we aren’t as bad as Ted Bundy. Maybe you haven’t committed the heinous crimes Ted Bundy has committed. But we can learn some important principles.

What are you doing to your mind?

I’ve heard stories of men spending countless hours on video games every single day. Call of duty, counter-strike, etc. Scrolling through Instagram every day because they are bored, trying to stimulate the senses and entertain themselves.

According to a Nielsen Company Audience report, the average American spends 10 hours a day on screen time which includes smart phones, computers, video games, radios, tablets, and tvs.

Our minds are being heavily influenced. If we aren’t careful, our thoughts will be fortified and our actions influenced. But as Christians we are called to much more. We are called to give our whole selves to God which includes our Heart, soul, and mind.

Matthew 22:37-

And He said to him, “You Shall Love The Lord Your God with all your Heart and with all your Soul and with all Your Mind.

Our thought life is of the utmost importance. We are commanded to Love our God with a pure mind and be transformed by it.

Romans 12:2- And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Paul is saying here that in light of our justification, and in light of our union with Christ, we should be transformed and be renewed because we are a new creation. New Creatures have new minds and new desires for the glory of Christ. We worship Christ and give glory to Him.

The Implication-

As believers, we should be aware of how our minds are being impacted every day. Patterns become habits which become our character and who we are. Ultimately, what we fill our minds with is a matter of worship, allegiance, and obedience. If we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, we should take it seriously.

Meditation as a pattern

The bible talks about meditation is Psalm:1 and Psalm:119. The Psalmist meditates on his law day and night. Biblically speaking, meditation is the bridge between head knowledge and true obedience. It is the man who develops a pattern of meditation that obeys enabled by the Spirit.

Conclusion

We are one step away from sin. Thoughts start out small. We make excuses, say it’s not that bad until sinful thought patterns are fully formed and influence our actions. Lets pay attention to our thoughts and what we worship. Our thoughts are part of our obedience to Him who created us so that we can glorify Him with everything that we do. But there is hope. We have been radically transformed and are being directed to conformity with Christ every day. As our thoughts conform to Christ, we will see our speech more edifying, actions more loving, and a humility form in us in accordance with our nature. Loving God with our mind is not optional. It’s a basic Characteristic of a Christian that provides a catalyst for loving God and people externally while we love God internally in our mind. It’s like 2 sides of the same coin. Loving God with our minds will result in Loving God and others externally with our actions. Lets be people that don’t fill our minds with ungodly forms of media of every kind but with the truth of scripture that loves God and others as it’s primary goal on this Earth. The results will be amazing.

“The Word of God does not only permit but also commands us to love and embrace Christ with the sweetest, dearest affections that nature can possibly stir up in our minds, heart and soul.” – William Pinke,