Archive for the ‘Idolatry’ Category

November 6th, 2015

What Do You Love More Than Jesus?

“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.” Luke 18:22-23 (ESV)

We do not teach a “poverty gospel” in Christianity, meaning that we do not affirm that only in poverty can you truly live a life pleasing to the Lord, free from material distractions. While it is true that materialism is a dangerous foe to a Christian’s proper devotion to the Lord, material things are not in and of themselves evil. So, what is Jesus teaching this “ruler” in Luke’s gospel? If we are not affirming a poverty gospel, then why would Jesus command this drastic act of worship? Jesus asks this of the man because He knows where his true devotion lies. The rich ruler has been extraordinarily obedient to the requirements of the law, yet his heart still longs for the things of this world. He has yet to discover the central message of Christianity: true satisfaction is only found in God and God is only found in Christ.

This story is always a challenging one for the follower of Jesus, because it forces us to assess ourselves and see what things we are unwilling to sacrifice for Him. Are there things in your life that you would be unwilling to give up if Jesus asked you? If so, you have found a god greater than Him in your own mind. We all have idols that intermittently rise up in our lives; the trick for us, though, who desire to grow in Christ-likeness is to identify those things and put them to death so that they do not steal our affection for the Lord.

Dear friend, do not go away from the Lord sad as this rich ruler did. Remember that whatever it is that you must sacrifice in order to be obedient is far less satisfying in comparison to the greatness of our Lord.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, November 6th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Idolatry, Love, Luke.
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June 28th, 2015

Guard Your Affection for the Lord

“And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods.” 1 Kings 11:8 ESV

Every one of us has something in our lives that competes for our worship and affection. For some, our job has the ability to steal our devotion and cheat the Lord of the worship He deserves. For others, our children have become our priority and our happiness is dependent upon their happiness rather than obedience to the command of God. For Solomon, his weakness was his women. He allowed his  love for his foreign wives to take precedence over his love of the Lord. The man who built the temple of God Almighty began building temples for false foreign deities in order to appease women he had no business marrying in the first place.

When you and I begin to value the approval of men or satisfaction in this life over the approval of God and ultimate satisfaction in Him, we will begin to cheat Him of the worship He deserves and give our devotion to another. This is idolatry and we must be careful to avoid it. Solomon did not and all of Israel suffered for it. As long as he proved devoted to the commands of God, Israel was guaranteed favor and peace, but as soon as Solomon kindled the anger of the Lord, adversaries were raised to remind Solomon and his people of their great need for the Lord.

What are some sensitive areas in your life that compete for your affections? Is it an addiction? Is it a relationship? Is it an occupation? Be careful to guard your affections for the Lord. Otherwise, He may send a reminder of your great need for Him. Repent and return to a God who is alone worthy of our praise.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Pastor of Mobilization & Young Adults(Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, June 28th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category 1 Kings, Allurements, Idolatry.
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March 31st, 2015

Remove Devoted Things

“The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.’” Joshua 7:10-12 (ESV)

Idolatry is a word we seldom use. Whenever you allow someone or something to take the place of God in your life, you commit the sin of idolatry. The first and second of the Ten Commandments speak to this concept directly (Ex. 20:3-4). Whatever or whomever becomes the object of your worship becomes your idol.

Jesus infuses this earthly tendency of ours into His teaching on becoming a disciple. To become a follower of Jesus Christ, you must be willing to remove the idols in your life. Your loyalty to Christ is to be unmatched and undivided. Jesus becomes your focus and the object of your worship, devotion, and loyalty.

Your love, loyalty, and devotion to Jesus is to be your top priority and the expressed passion of your life. Don’t allow anything or anyone to compete for that place in your life. Don’t allow anything or anyone to rob your allegiance to the One who gave His life for you. Jesus has already demonstrated His selfless and sacrificial love. Now, it’s your turn to demonstrate your selfless and sacrificial love for Jesus. Remove devoted things. Remove anything that seeks to be enthroned in your life.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Idolatry, Joshua, Sin.
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March 1st, 2015

Avoid Idolatry

“‘You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 26:1 (ESV)

What is an idol? Whatever you value more than God is an idol. We are made to worship. There is a tendency to bypass worshiping our Creator and choose instead to worship creation. God’s uniqueness requires unique devotion. The desire to fashion God in our own image produces a distorted view of God and confuses our created purpose.

Moses was instructed to engage in conflict resolution as a result of Israel’s rebellion: Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” (Exodus 32:7-8 ESV).

Avoid idolatry! Remove those things you love more than God. God demands and deserves your loyalty. You demonstrate loyalty through Lordship. Who occupies the throne of your life? Be attentive to those things that are seeking to be enthroned in your life. Don’t allow anything to usurp your affection and your devotion. Keep your focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. If you have drifted, return to your first love and make Jesus your top priority.

Practice moment-by-moment surrender to the Lordship of Christ. Allow Jesus to be the Lord of every area of your life. Give Him full access to your thoughts, your desires, your fears, and your future. Pray, “Lord, I’m Yours! Use me!”

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

 

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, March 1st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Idolatry, Leviticus, Worship.
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April 12th, 2014

Clarifying Your Devotion

“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.’” Luke 14:25-26 (ESV)

Idolatry is a word we seldom use. Whenever you allow someone or something to take the place of God in your life, you commit the sin of idolatry. The first and second of the Ten Commandments speak to this concept directly (Exod. 20:3-4).

Whatever or whomever becomes the object of your worship becomes your idol.

Jesus infuses this earthly tendency of ours into His teaching on becoming a disciple. To become a follower of Jesus Christ, you must be willing to remove the idols in your life. Your loyalty to Christ is to be unmatched and undivided. Jesus becomes your focus and the object of your worship, devotion, and loyalty.

The fifth commandment of the Ten Commandments refers to the honoring of our parents (Exod. 20:12). Jesus is not contradicting the fifth commandment. He does not want you to dishonor your parents. Jesus is saying that your love for Him should be such a priority, that in comparison, your love for your family would look like hate.

Your love, loyalty, and devotion to Jesus is to be your top priority and the expressed passion of your life. Don’t allow anything or anyone to compete for that place in your life. Don’t allow anything or anyone to rob your allegiance to the One who gave His life for you. Jesus has already demonstrated His selfless and sacrificial love. Now, it’s your turn to demonstrate your selfless and sacrificial love for Jesus.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, April 12th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Devotion, Idolatry, Jesus.
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August 8th, 2013

Eliminate Idolatry

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6 (NIV)

What is an idol? Whatever you value more than God is an idol. The American idols include money, prestige, material possessions, fame, and power. We are approval addicts and admiration stations. We long to be noticed and to be affirmed to the level of becoming our own idol.

We are made to worship. There is a tendency to bypass worshiping our Creator and choose instead to worship creation. God’s uniqueness requires unique devotion. The desire to fashion God in our own image produces a distorted view of God and confuses our created purpose. Moses was instructed to engage in conflict resolution as a result of Israel’s rebellion: Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt’” (Exod. 32:7-8 NIV).

Eliminate idolatry! Eliminate those things you love more than God. God demands and deserves your loyalty. You demonstrate loyalty through Lordship. Who occupies the throne of your life?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, August 8th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Idolatry, Ten Commandments, Worship.
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November 6th, 2012

What Do You Love More Than Jesus?

“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.” Luke 18:22-23 (ESV)

We do not teach a “poverty gospel” in Christianity, meaning that we do not affirm that only in poverty can you truly live a life pleasing to the Lord, free from material distractions. While it is true that materialism is a dangerous foe to a Christian’s proper devotion to the Lord, material things are not in and of themselves evil. So, what is Jesus teaching this “ruler” in Luke’s gospel? If we are not affirming a poverty gospel, then why would Jesus command this drastic act of worship? Jesus asks this of the man because He knows where his true devotion lies. The rich ruler has been extraordinarily obedient to the requirements of the law, yet his heart still longs for the things of this world. He has yet to discover the central message of Christianity: true satisfaction is only found in God and God is only found in Christ.

This story is always a challenging one for the follower of Jesus, because it forces us to assess ourselves and see what things we are unwilling to sacrifice for Him. Are there things in your life that you would be unwilling to give up if Jesus asked you? If so, you have found a god greater than Him in your own mind. We all have idols that intermittently rise up in our lives; the trick for us, though, who desire to grow in Christ-likeness is to identify those things and put them to death so that they do not steal our affection for the Lord.

Dear friend, do not go away from the Lord sad as this rich ruler did. Remember that whatever it is that you must sacrifice in order to be obedient is far less satisfying in comparison to the greatness of our Lord.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 303:  Luke 18)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Idolatry, Love, Luke.
Interact No Comments
June 28th, 2012

Guard Your Affection for the Lord

“And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods.” 1 Kings 11:8 ESV

Every one of us has something in our lives that competes for our worship and affection. For some, our job has the ability to steal our devotion and cheat the Lord of the worship He deserves. For others, our children have become our priority and our happiness is dependent upon their happiness rather than obedience to the command of God. For Solomon, his weakness was his women. He allowed his  love for his foreign wives to take precedence over his love of the Lord. The man who built the temple of God Almighty began building temples for false foreign deities in order to appease women he had no business marrying in the first place.

When you and I begin to value the approval of men or satisfaction in this life over the approval of God and ultimate satisfaction in Him, we will begin to cheat Him of the worship He deserves and give our devotion to another. This is idolatry and we must be careful to avoid it. Solomon did not and all of Israel suffered for it. As long as he proved devoted to the commands of God, Israel was guaranteed favor and peace, but as soon as Solomon kindled the anger of the Lord, adversaries were raised to remind Solomon and his people of their great need for the Lord.

What are some sensitive areas in your life that compete for your affections? Is it an addiction? Is it a relationship? Is it an occupation? Be careful to guard your affections for the Lord. Otherwise, He may send a reminder of your great need for Him. Repent and return to a God who is alone worthy of our praise.

 

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 172:  1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chronicles 9)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, June 28th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category 1 Kings, Allurements, Idolatry.
Interact No Comments
March 31st, 2012

Remove Devoted Things

“The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. 12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.’” Joshua 7:10-12 (ESV)

Idolatry is a word we seldom use. Whenever you allow someone or something to take the place of God in your life, you commit the sin of idolatry. The first and second of the Ten Commandments speak to this concept directly (Ex. 20:3-4). Whatever or whomever becomes the object of your worship becomes your idol.

Jesus infuses this earthly tendency of ours into His teaching on becoming a disciple. To become a follower of Jesus Christ, you must be willing to remove the idols in your life. Your loyalty to Christ is to be unmatched and undivided. Jesus becomes your focus and the object of your worship, devotion, and loyalty.

Your love, loyalty, and devotion to Jesus is to be your top priority and the expressed passion of your life. Don’t allow anything or anyone to compete for that place in your life. Don’t allow anything or anyone to rob your allegiance to the One who gave His life for you. Jesus has already demonstrated His selfless and sacrificial love. Now, it’s your turn to demonstrate your selfless and sacrificial love for Jesus. Remove devoted things. Remove anything that seeks to be enthroned in your life.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 83:  Joshua 5-8)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, March 31st, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Idolatry, Joshua, Sin.
Interact No Comments
March 1st, 2012

Avoid Idolatry

“‘You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 26:1 (ESV)

What is an idol? Whatever you value more than God is an idol. We are made to worship. There is a tendency to bypass worshiping our Creator and choose instead to worship creation. God’s uniqueness requires unique devotion. The desire to fashion God in our own image produces a distorted view of God and confuses our created purpose.

Moses was instructed to engage in conflict resolution as a result of Israel’s rebellion: Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” (Exodus 32:7-8 ESV).

Avoid idolatry! Remove those things you love more than God. God demands and deserves your loyalty. You demonstrate loyalty through Lordship. Who occupies the throne of your life? Be attentive to those things that are seeking to be enthroned in your life. Don’t allow anything to usurp your affection and your devotion. Keep your focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. If you have drifted, return to your first love and make Jesus your top priority.

Practice moment-by-moment surrender to the Lordship of Christ. Allow Jesus to be the Lord of every area of your life. Give Him full access to your thoughts, your desires, your fears, and your future. Pray, “Lord, I’m Yours! Use me!”

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 53:  Leviticus 26-27)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, March 1st, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Idolatry, Leviticus, Worship.
Interact No Comments