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The previous post in this series on “Joy-Killers” was about sin. Today we go just a little bit deeper with another big joy-killer: IDOLATRY.
This gets at the question, “Why do we sin?” After all, if sin is a joy-killer, we should just stop it — right? Yes, that is right, but the question remains…”Why can’t I stop sinning?” I think the answer is “Because of idolatry.” Webster defines “idolatry” as “immoderate attachment or devotion to something.” It is our immoderate attachments or our over-desires — sometimes even for good things — that lead us to disobey God with our actions. Sinful behavior is always preceeded by idolatrous desire.
What are the key idols we face? Here is a brief list that has helped me tremendously:
- People’s approval
- Power or influence
I find that if I ask myself, “Why did I do or say that sinful thing?” the answer is usually found on that list.
This list is helpful because it gets deeper than we normally think. For instance, most people would say that money is an idol. However, when you think about it, you realize that people want money for different reasons. Some want it to impress people, some to have an easy life, and others to be able to influence key people. So, if you are struggling with the love of money, it won’t help to just try to stop loving money. You need to first understand the idol that is gripping your heart and leading you to love money. Only when we repent of these deeper idols with gospel-truth (i.e. “I don’t need people’s approval because in Jesus I have the only person’s approval who really matters”) will we see lasting change and growing joy.