Are You An Idolater?

A few years ago, I saw a picture in the newspaper of the home of a business owner, who was an immigrant from another country. It struck me because there was an idol beside him in the picture. It was the first time I had seen a literal, physical idol for use in worship here in the United States. Idolatry is not common here in America — or is it?

Ephesians 5:5 says: “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

This expression “covetous man, who is an idolater,” is a revealing one. When a person covets something, the Bible says they are in effect an idolater. They are making an idol of a thing. They are saying: if I only had that thing, THEN I would be happy and fulfilled — instead of looking to find that happiness and fulfillment in GOD. This looking to something/someone besides God is idolatry. It is the original sin from Genesis 3: putting your desire for something else, ahead of God.

This is especially true in the “consumer society” in which we live today. People get caught up in this as a lifestyle: they are always looking to the “next thing” they just must have, which will finally make them happy. But it never does. It is an unending cycle. After a very brief “high” gained from the acquiring, there will then be something else they covet, and when they get it, that satisfaction won’t last long either. It is never-ending.

The only way to break this cycle is to realize what you are caught up in, reject this vain search for satisfaction from possessions, and direct your search for fulfillment towards God Himself. Only HE will ultimately satisfy you: “In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11)

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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