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Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632

 Keep Yourself from Idols

J.C. Philpot

What is an idol?

It is that which occupies that place in our esteem
and affections, in our thoughts, words and ways,
which is due to God only. Whatever is to us, what
the Lord alone should be—that is an idol to us.

It is true that these idols differ almost as widely
as the peculiar propensities of different individuals.
But as both in ancient and modern times, the grosser
idols of wood and stone were and are beyond all
calculation in number, variety, shape, and size.
So is it in these inner idols, of which the outer
idols are mere symbols and representations.

Nothing has been . . .
too base or too brutal,
too great or too little,
too noble or too vile,
from the sun walking in its brightness—to a snake,
a monkey, an onion, a bit of rag—which man has
not worshiped. And these intended representations
of Divinity were but the outward symbols of what
man inwardly worshiped. For the inward idol preceded
the outward—and the fingers merely carved what the
imagination had previously devised. The gross material
idol, then, is but a symbol of the inner mind of man.

But we need not dwell on this part of the subject.
There is another form of idolatry much nearer home;
the idolatry not of an ancient Pagan, or a modern
Hindoo—but that of a Christian.

Nor need we go far, if we would but be honest
with ourselves, to each find out our own idol . . .
what it is,
how deep it lies,
what worship it obtains,
what honor it receives,
and what affection it engrosses.

Let me ask myself, "What do I most love?"

If I hardly know how to answer that question, let
me put to myself another, "WHAT DO I MOST THINK UPON? In what channel do I usually find my thoughts
flow when unrestrained?"—for thoughts flow to the
idol as water to the lowest spot.

If, then, the thoughts flow continually to . . .
the farm,
the shop,
the business,
the investment,
to the husband, wife, or child,
to that which feeds lust or pride,
worldliness or covetousness,
self-conceit or self-admiration;
that is the idol which, as a magnet, attracts
the thoughts of the mind towards it.

Your idol may not be mine, nor mine yours; and
yet we may both be idolaters! You may despise or
even hate my idol, and wonder how I can be such
a fool or such a sinner as to hug it to my bosom!
And I may wonder how a partaker of grace can
be so inconsistent as to love such a silly idol
as yours. You may condemn me, and I condemn
you. And the Word of God, and the verdict of a
living conscience may condemn us both.

O how various and how innumerable these idols
are! One man may possess a refined taste and
educated mind. Books, learning, literature, languages,
general information, shall be his idol. Music—vocal
and instrumental, may be the idol of a second—so
sweet to his ears, such inward feelings of delight
are kindled by the melodious strains of voice or
instrument, that music is in all his thoughts, and
hours are spent in producing those harmonious
sounds which perish in their utterance. Painting,
statuary, architecture, the fine arts generally, may
be the Baal, the dominating passion of a third.
Poetry, with its glowing thoughts, burning words,
passionate utterances, vivid pictures, melodious
cadence, and sustained flow of all that is beautiful
in language and expression, may be the delight of
a fourth. Science, the eager pursuit of a fifth.
These are the highest flights of the human mind.
These are not the base idols of the drunken feast,
the low jest, the mirthful supper—or even that less
debasing but enervating idol—sleep and indolence,
as if life's highest enjoyments were those of the
swine in the sty.

You middle-class people—who despise art and science,
language and learning, as you despise the ale-house,
and ballfield—may still have an idol. Your garden, your
beautiful roses, your verbenas, fuchsias, needing all the
care and attention of a babe in arms, may be your idol.
Or your pretty children, so admired as they walk in the
street; or your new house and all the new furniture; or
your son who is getting on so well in business; or your
daughter so comfortably settled in life; or your dear
husband so generally respected, and just now doing so
nicely in the farm. Or your own still dearer SELF that
needs so much feeding, and dressing and attending to.

Who shall count the thousands of idols which draw
to themselves those thoughts, and engross those
affections which are due to the Lord alone?

You may not be found out. Your idol may be so hidden,
or so peculiar, that all our attempts to touch it, have left
you and it unscathed. Will you therefore conclude that you
have none? Search deeper, look closer; it is not too deep
for the eye of God, nor too hidden for the eyes of a tender
conscience anointed with divine eye-salve.

Hidden diseases the most incurable of all diseases.
Search every fold of your heart until you find it. It may
not be so big nor so ugly as your neighbor's. But an idol
is still an idol, whether so small as to be carried in the
coat pocket, or as large as a gigantic statue.

An idol is not to be admired for its beauty, or loathed
for its ugliness—but to be hated because it is an idol.

"Dear children, keep yourselves from idols." 1 John 5:21


 2004/2/28 9:03Profile

Joined: 2003/10/16
Posts: 63

 Re: Keep Yourself from Idols

How I was reading Ezekiel last night I came upon this verse:
"Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign LORD: Repent and turn away from your idols, and stop all of your loathsome practices. I, the LORD, will punish all those, both Israelites and foreigners, who reject me and set up idols in their hearts so they fall into sin, and who then come to a prophet asking for my advice. (Ezekiel 14:6-7 NLT)


 2004/2/28 12:09Profile

Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632


Yes, Ezekiel sure is coming up alot lately!


 2004/2/28 12:47Profile

Joined: 2004/3/5
Posts: 10
New York, Metropolitan Area

 Re: Keep Yourself from Idols

shalom ! JC peace be unto you, thanks for sharing about the idols, i actually will work on a study about this topic that the lord has laid in my heart, we must be very careful not to allow anything to come between us and the lord he's very jealous GOD. proverbs 3
in messiah YESHUA

Dalcy Flaquer

 2004/3/7 1:16Profile

Joined: 2003/11/28
Posts: 16

 Re: keep yourself from idols

I have been reading Ezekial as well, and for sometime now this has been the message from the Lord. God is showing me everything in my life which comes before him...any earthly "affection" etc., and this is causing me to have to totally rely on the Lord alone. It has been a time of death to self and very painful at times, but it is the way of the Cross and is the only way to true victory in Christ in my life. As God said to me sometime ago, "I want all of your love" - which means fulfilling the first commandment "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." (Matt 22:37). No other love must come before Him. To spend time with Jesus every day alone, relying only on Him, is my present training ground, and putting Him first in going to Him with my problems rather than people. It has not been easy, and the devil has been constantly attacking me to prevent me from getting closer to Christ, but I am fully aware of Satan's tactics and am pressing through this difficult time, for I know it is the only way.

julianne whyte

 2004/3/7 2:36Profile

Joined: 2003/11/17
Posts: 56

 Re: Keep yourself from idols

This is an awesome thread. Lately, I've been reading thru Isaiah, and over and over again God slams (is that an appropriate term?)the Israelites for thier idols. And I start to wonder...
What do I bow my time, my heart, my affections to?
Music? (Even "worship") I sing sometimes just to sing, "christian" songs are far more pleasant than secular garbage...
While I'm watching T.V. or talking to my friends, or playing Delirious on the guitar, where is my heart? Was Panasonic crucified? Were my friends? Was my guitar?
All those things are good, my friends encourage, T.V. provides me with Charles Stanley or world news. When my heart is right, I sing to God. But those things all can be idols, because
1.) They're tangible
2.) They have the potential to occupy my affections and get praise, rather than God.

God is a jealous God, a consuming fire, I pray that I may be consumed.
In Christ...

Chad Lough

 2004/3/9 10:19Profile

Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632

 Re: idols

I don't even look to tangible things as idols anymore (not that they aren't) They are just more obvious. It is important for the mature Christian to look at intangible idols- such as "esteem", 'praise from men'- issues of the heart.

Some beloved idol?

(J. C. Philpot, "Spiritual Times and Seasons" 1841)

"Because the whole land is filled with idols, and the
people are madly in love with them." Jeremiah 50:38

Have we not all in our various ways,
set up some beloved idol . . .
something which engaged our affections,
something which occupied our thoughts,
something to which we devoted all the energies of our minds,
something for which we were willing to labor night and day?

Be it money,
be it power,
be it esteem of men,
be it respectability,
be it worldly comfort,
be it literary knowledge,
there was a secret setting up of SELF in one or
more of its various forms, and a bowing down
to it as an idol.

"Idols will be utterly abolished and destroyed."
Isaiah 2:18

There is, then, a time to break down these
idols which our fallen nature has set up.

And have not we experienced some measure of
this breaking down, both externally and internally?

Have not our idols been in a measure smashed
before our eyes, our prospects in life cut up and
destroyed, our airy visions of earthly happiness
and our romantic paradises dissolved into thin air,
our creature-hopes dashed, our youthful affections
blighted, and the objects from which we had fondly
hoped to reap an enduring harvest of delight
removed from our eyes?

And likewise, as to our religion . . .
our good opinion of ourselves,
our piety and holiness,
our wisdom and our knowledge,
our understanding and our abilities,
our consistency and uprightness;
have they not all been broken down, and
made a heap of ruins before our eyes?

This is why it is so important for us to always be asking the Lord to 'search us and know us- see if there is any wicked way in us". For the heart is deceitful and wicked. We can not just ponder our own hearts and see what we can come up with. We must ask the Lord to show us- to shine his light on the hidden areas of our hearts.

whew! Many people are terror stricken to do this. "What if He asks me to give up 'this'"?

What if? He's the boss!

Satisfied in Him, Chanin


 2004/3/9 10:42Profile

Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2734
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: idols

I am reminded of something from A.W. Tozer's [i]The Knowledge of the Holy[/i]:

Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry, for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is - in itself a monstrous sin - and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness. Always this God will conform to the image of the one who created it and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges.
A god begotten in the shadows of a fallen heart will quite naturally be no true likeness of the true God. "Thou thoughtest," said the Lord to the wicked man in the psalm, "that I was altogether such as one as thyself." Surely this must be a serious affront to the Most High God before whom cherubim and seraphim continually do cry, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth."

Let us beware lest we in our pride accept the erroneous notion that idolatry consists only in kneeling before visible objects of adoration, and that civilized peoples are therefore free from it. The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place.
"When they knew God," wrote Paul, "they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."
Then followed the worship of idols fashioned after the likeness of men and birds and beasts and creeping things. But this series of degrading acts began in the mind. Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.

In Christ,


Ron Halverson

 2004/3/9 11:44Profile

Joined: 2004/3/3
Posts: 54
Fond du Lac, WI


Today in my Bible study, the Lord was using Ezekial 13:10 (and most of Ezekial 13) to further my understanding of the condition of the modern church, and what is allowed to exist by preachers and teachers.

No repentance. No reverential fears. Idol worship allowed. No conviction.

"Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because what you say is false and your visions are a lie, I will stand against you, says the Sovereign LORD." Ezekiel 13:8

"These evil prophets deceive my people by saying, 'All is peaceful!' when there is no peace at all! It's as if the people have built a flimsy wall, and these prophets are trying to hold it together by covering it with whitewash! Tell these whitewashers that their wall will soon fall down. A heavy rainstorm will undermine it; great hailstones and mighty winds will knock it down. And when the wall falls, the people will cry out, 'Where is the whitewash you applied?'" Ezekiel 13:10-12

"At last my anger against the wall and those who covered it with whitewash will be satisfied. Then I will say to you: 'The wall and those who whitewashed it are both gone. They were lying prophets who claimed peace would come to Jerusalem when there was no peace. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!'" Ezekiel 13:15-16

"You have discouraged the righteous with your lies, when I didn't want them to suffer grief. And you have encouraged the wicked by promising them life, even though they continue in their sins." Ezekiel 13:22

Promising them life even though they continue in their sins. The modern false Christ is to loving to convict people of sins.


 2004/3/9 11:45Profile

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