Last year, I encountered a definition of an idol that pierced my heart with clarity and conviction:
An idol is anything you want badly enough that you are willing to sin in order to get it (Maria Notcheva, Redeemed from the Pit, p. 60).
God used this definition to expose some deeply rooted idols in my life that were keeping me in bondage. In the private places of my life, I knew I wasn’t sold out to the Lord. I was serving myself and my wants and what I thought would keep me comfortable and happy, but it wasn’t working, because idols and their lies never deliver what we think they promise.
Just like the Israelites in the days of Judges, we are surrounded by a culture that worships anything and everything but God. It’s easy to adopt the mindset of our culture and world when we live immersed in it every day, like the Israelites. It’s easy to make the slightest compromise, that as my precious Sunday school teacher Samone says may be just one degree off, but one degree continually pursued leaves a chasm between our way and God’s way.
If we define an idol as anything we want badly enough we’re willing to sin to get it, what are some things that can be idols in our lives? Whatever you answer is correct, because anyone and anything can become an idol.
In the opening chapters of the book of Judges, we encounter a generation of Israelites who have forsaken the Lord and prostituted themselves with the gods of the land. The anger of the Lord burns against them because He warned them not to, and He delivers them into the hands of their enemies all around. The Lord is then moved to pity by their groaning and raises up a judge to deliver them. But when the judge dies, they repeat the cycle. Judges 2:19 says, “They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.”
Couldn’t we all in some way recognize this cycle in our lives? All of us have areas of our lives where we do not cease from our own doings or our stubborn ways, don’t we?
What I am learning from the first chapters in Judges is that even when we get caught in the snare of idolatry and find ourselves oppressed by the enemy, God will not leave us in bondage forever! When we cry out, He hears us and He delivers us.
And sometimes, God sovereignly sets up battles for our deliverance!
Here’s why this is important…
When God sets up battles for our deliverance and we do what He says, His victory is certain and He frees us from bondage due to idolatry to live a victorious life – a life in relationship with God Almighty, living according to His ways in unbroken fellowship with Him, and experiencing His supernatural, miraculous faithfulness, provision and protection. This is the life the Israelites lived when they separated themselves from the idol worship all around them and set themselves apart to love and worship the Lord alone.
When we find ourselves in bondage and oppressed by our enemy, we need to know that WE DON’T HAVE to remain trapped in bondage!
In Judges 4:1-3, the Israelites once again do evil in God’s sight and He sells them into the hands of their enemy, Jabin, king of Canaan. Jabin harshly oppresses the Israelites for twenty years, and they cry out to the Lord. It happens just as the Lord said it would, and in Judges 4:4-16, God raises Deborah as judge, and there’s going to be a battle to bring about their freedom.
GOD is going to order people and events – including enemy activity – according to His sovereign plan for their certain victory and deliverance.
God wants us to live a victorious life! Jesus Himself assures us in John 8:36, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed,” and in John 10:10 He explains, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
We’re set free to live abundantly in victory, but what exactly is this victorious life?
The victorious life is the set-apart, obedient life in which we experience His supernatural and miraculous faithfulness, deliverance, provision and protection.
The abundant, victorious life is not found in false gods or bondage – idolatry leads to oppression and bondage, every time. But OUR God sovereignly delivers us to certain victory through obedience.
Judges 4:4-16 contains Twelve Truths for Victorious Living. I’ll be sharing all twelve over the course of the next few days. Will you take a moment today to read the passage in your own Bible or click here to read it online?
As I share the Twelve Truths for Victorious Living over the course of the next few days, I know for a fact God can use them to can radically change our relationship with Him as we see His faithfulness, provision and protection in His word and then experience it in our own lives as we believe what He says about Himself and what He promises to do, AND as we do what He asks us to do because we trust Him with our hearts, thoughts, feelings, circumstances, relationships and eternity.
Will you join me the next few days to discover Twelve Truths for Victorious Living?
At the end of this brief blog series, I have a Victory Pass for you! I can’t wait to share what I hope will become a powerful daily reminder of Jesus’ authority and the power given you to go where He asks you to go. If easy is your thing, you can sign up to receive new blog posts directly to your email inbox. Just enter your email address in the upper right corner of this page where it says “Sign Up!”
Until tomorrow, then. Many hugs and blessings to you!
For all the blogs in this series, click below: