“Have no other Gods before me.” God spoke those words to Moses on Mount Sinai, in Exodus 20: 3.
The Semites worshiped mountains, springs, trees and rocks. Gideon’s clan worshiped a wooden pole called, the Asherah Pole. A number of animals were sacred to the Egyptians, the bull, cow, cat, baboon, and crocodile. All through history people worshiped idols. If you think that you are in the clear because you don’t own an Asherah Pole, you might be missing something. What are your gods? Food, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or maybe shopping, music or TV.
One of my idols was sleep. I was noticing that at 7:00 every morning. I was waking up with a strong feeling that I should get up and pray. A few times I did it, but most mornings I would say a short prayer, like, “Sorry God, I promise I will pray later, I’m really tired!” On those days I just could not find the time to pray, and God showed me that I was putting sleep before Him. I knew that I was getting enough sleep, I just liked sleeping in. I had the feeling that God was testing me, and that early morning testing went on for months.
I love music. I started collecting music from the time I was fourteen. I also collected news paper clippings, magazines, books and t-shirts of my favorite groups. A year or so after I became a Christian, I got this nagging feeling that I should throw out all of my albums. It wasn’t something that I wanted to do, but it was on my mind all of the time. I really struggled with this. One day I found myself thinking, I can’t throw away my albums, I’ve collected them for years and years, they hold so many memories, they are my life! MY LIFE? What was I thinking. That was enough to open my eyes to what I was doing, I didn‘t just like music, I loved it, I made it into a god. It took me four trips to the dumpster to get rid of those albums. As soon as they were gone, the nagging feeling was saying, tapes too. Tapes! It took a while but I did throw away the tapes. When I look back on it, I can’t believe how much importance I put on that music. And I understand why it wasn’t a good thing, I had put my music before God. I spent the next year listening to Christian radio and collecting Christian music.
My husband Mark’s battle has been with cigarettes. I remember years ago, Mark actually getting up, out of bed, getting dressed and going to the store late at night for cigarettes, when he realized that he didn’t have enough for the night and for first thing in the morning. Getting up was easier for him than fighting the craving for one night. Those cigarettes controlled him, that made them a bad thing. Mark has since quit smoking.
If you are in Church, Bible study, or maybe having a quiet time of prayer, and all you can think about is getting it over with so you can get to your addiction, whether it be food, cigarettes, alcohol, shopping, work, or what ever else controls you, ask God to show you if you are making an idol and putting it in front of your relationship with God. Also ask Him to show that addiction who’s boss!
In the long run addictions cause us to suffer. When we let our flesh control what we do, we end up staying away from the thing that is most important, God. There are many things that give us satisfaction, but the only true and lasting satisfaction, comes from God.
Colossians 3: 5 says, “Put to death, therefore whatever belongs to your earthly nature; sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”