How to Fight Idolatry and Temptation

In a post last month I wrote of the power of words and briefly hit on how at times each of us worry about the way we think others view us. We replay conversations, project what another person must be thinking, fret over what we should have done or said differently and sometimes even change who we are around certain people.

These consuming thoughts… Idolatry.

As I’ve stated in previous posts:

An idol is anything and everything that takes the place of God on the throne of our heart. 

So even something like being ruled by what someone else thinks of me is an idol. 

The Bible identifies this as “fear of man.”  In otherwords, the fear of what another person thinks (or I think they think) ruling me. If I care too much about how you view me, I may elevate myself in conversation or do something to try to impress you. Or, I may hide something about myself out of fear of what you might think. We can all relate, right?

Aren’t there times we all do things – things like what lables we wear, where we shop, eat, send our kids to school or what activities we enroll them in, who we hang out with or what we post on social media – simply because we want to look good and be viewed a certain way?

Whether this is your big issue or not, idolatry pops up in many forms Every.Single.Day. and until eternity we will struggle with it!

Does it sound depressing and hopeless to keep fighting a battle we will never fully conquer until glory?

Believe it or not, it’s for our good! God could eradicate our sin and struggles, but instead chooses to leave us in this state of continual need for a Savior. So though sin is not good, it is good to see our sin more and more and know we need Him.

The more we see our hopeless condition, the more we find that but by His strength and grace we would never stand. Stand, we can though, by His giving us full gospel armor for daily battle.

Paul tells of this armory in Ephesians 6:10-20, but perhaps you’ve never thought about how a belt, breastplate, shield, helmet, sword and sandals actually protect us in our kind of battles. Unknown

All of these items are connected to the Gospel. Paul starts with the “belt” as the Truth of the gospel because of its essentialness in connecting everything else. Without the absolute Truth of the gospel we easily fall to the Satan’s schemes and this world’s idols. That is why we must be fed with consistent gospel preaching and know how to apply it.

You must know and have the security of the “breastplate,” which is Christ’s righteousness for you.  Remembering His perfect work perfectly covers you and there is nothing you can do to earn or lose his love is foundational. When you fail, it is not up to you to try harder, but to repent and rest confidently on His perfectness for you. Satan wants to knock you off of believing this, but here you must Stand!

This Gospel truth extends to your “shield,” which is faith. If you are not entrenched in the truth of who Christ is, trying to muster up faith on your own to believe He accepts you even in your sin and that He is good and cares for you even when things are hard or you’ve turned away from Him will constantly leave you doubting.

Jesus is the object of our faith – the “helmet of salvation” and His Word our “sword.” The Word we hear must be focused on Christ, not us!  Moral pep talks, feel-good fluffy sermons and being told what to do is all law and will not enable you to Stand ready for battle against idolatry. Because we know our heart condition we need to constantly be reoriented to fix our eyes on Him!

Finally with “sandals” on you are prepared for battle. Instead of thinking retreating from the world will offer the best protection, you can plant your feet solidly into the peace of the gospel and Stand firm. 

Put on this gospel armor daily as your only true defense and Stand against the devil’s deceptive darts disguised as life being found in something other than Christ. Satan will do everything to try to deter you from the Truth of His Word. Do not be moved. This is your gift of protection so guard yourself with the gospel and Stand firm on Christ.

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2 thoughts on “How to Fight Idolatry and Temptation

  1. Thank you so much for clarifying idolatry in its many tempting forms! I’ve read numerous articles on the armor of God, but your post is the most concise. You give examples which I experience and show how the “law” does not prepare us to stand ready for battle. Thank you for reminding me that despite daily struggles our hope and eternal purpose is always in Christ!

    • I am so glad to know this post was helpful for you. It was actually challenging to be so concise as there are so many implications and other things that can be said about both the armor of God and idolatry! Idolaty though is a common theme throughout many of my posts so should you want more you can do a search of my posts using “idolatry” as the tag. Much grace to you!

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