What God Are You Counting On?
William M. Verch
What's an idol? Well, whenever I hear that term, I immediately think of an old "Star Trek" episode about a Garden of Eden type planet. The people that lived there worshipped this cave whose entrance looked like a huge snake head. They had to feed "Vall" at certain times or "Vall" would become angry. I also tend to think of the real life statues on Easter Island.
In modern society, we often laugh at those cultures who would be stupid enough to have faith in some man-made thing.
Yet do we enlightened people worship idols as well? "Of course not!", I hear you say. Not so fast, my faithful readers.
A Snippet Of A Verse - An Interesting Clue
There's a verse in Colossians that got me thinking. So often in the Bible there are little clues as to how God set things up in this life and/or clues as to what is really going on. Here's the verse:
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and
greed, which is idolatry." - Colossians 3:5
See the little tag at the end? I had never before connected greed with idolatry. Why is it there? What does it mean?
The Answer and Our Needs
To discover the answer, you must understand what drives greed. If someone is greedy, it is because they desire something that money provides.
We all have three basic needs - 1. Comfort 2. Security & 3. Self-Worth. Virtually anything you desire in this life can be placed in one of these three categories.
Here is where the idolatry comes in. Money becomes a false god, because GOD wants to be the one to take care of these needs. Money has the appearance of great power, because it would seem to be able to fulfill these needs. I will prove to you that it fails. Relationships are another major false god for many people because of this same reason. I'll save that discussion, however, for a future article.
Proof That Money Is A False God
Back to money. Now the Bible doesn't say that money is evil, but it does say that the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) All money is owned by God and it is a tool to be used by God for His purposes.
Here are examples where money will fail your needs:
1. Comfort - If you get sick, really sick, can money heal you? If a loved one dies, can money provide a promise that you will see them again? Definitely not, but God can.
2. Security - If your country is attacked, can money protect you? Do you feel much security with your money in the stock market or real estate these days? If you are in a store and an armed thief comes in, can money keep him from taking your life? No again, but God can prevent these things.
3. Self-Worth - Watch the super-rich. What do they end up doing? They end up starting foundations and charities because, for many, their money does not satisfy the need to feel good about themselves.
Either that, or they become self-destructive because they have all this money and yet are deeply unsatisfied. (Think drugged-out rock stars or the Howard Hughes' of the world.)
God can and will provide great self-worth to you. How about the fact that the God of the Universe decided to adopt you as His very own child. Now there's some self worth!
How To Check If Money Is Your Idol
Ask yourself the following questions:
"O Lord our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you." 1 Chronicles 29:16
1.) If you were to lose your job and/or your bank account, do you honestly believe that God would provide for you?
2.) Do you make decisions based on money first, or by seeking God's guidance first?
3.) Would you be willing to work for less money, if you felt that God was leading you to a lower paying job?
4.) Do you constantly worry whether or not you will have enough money to survive?
5.) Are you ever envious of wealthy people whom you know do not follow God?
6.) The money that you have, do you consider it to be your money or God's money?
7.) Do you tithe (give the first 10% of your income) to the church?
It can be hard and it can be scary to do this. It is, however, one of the few places in the Bible where God says, "Test Me in this." (Malachi 3:10) Do it and He will not disappoint you.
Now these are tough questions, and I confess my own struggles with some of them. I know very well what it is like to live life on the edge, financially. It is not a fun place to be. Yet God is there and I can testify that He faithfully provides.
Again, money in and of itself is not evil. In fact, great good can be accomplished with it. God knows full well what money we need to survive. But it is wise to make sure that you don't secretly count on money to provide for your needs and to rescue you.
Money is a false god that is not worthy of your belief.
"'…For I am with you to save you and deliver you,' declares the Lord." - Jeremiah 15:20b
Have a blessed week.
In His Love,
P.S. The most important thing you will do all day is to spend
time with God.
William M. Verch
Bible quotations are from the New International Version (NIV)
and the New American Standard Version (NASB)
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