by Matt Kay
"Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry"
(Colossians 3.5 NKJV)
The Apostle Paul directly links the sin of covetousness with idolatry. What exactly is idolatry?
Simply put, idolatry is anyone or anything that we love and trust more than God. Historically, these idols were "gods" created by man, usually made into some kind of carved or sculpted image, and who "existed" to serve people’s own desires. While ancient forms of idol worship have ceased to exist in many parts of the world, idolatry in our society is still alive and well today. People still have a strong tendency today to put people and things in the place of God.
Covetousness, which is another form of idolatry, is the inappropriate desire of a person or thing. This begs the question, "How do we know when a desire is inappropriate?" Every day I desire things like a cup of coffee, some quiet time, quality time with my family, and the satisfaction of getting work done. When can a desire cross that line into a covetous idolatry? How can I know?
At this point I want to turn you to an extremely helpful article by a pastor named John Piper: "Discerning Idolatry in Desire – 12 Ways to Recognize the Rise of Covetousness." You can find the article at http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/discerning-idolatry-in-desire. Some of the helpful thoughts that he includes in that article are listed in a shorter form below:
Desire leads us to Idol-Worship when…
- Our desires are forbidden by God
- Our desire for something is greater than our desire for God (the gift becomes greater than the Giver)
- Our desires don’t leave us with a thankful attitude toward God
- Our desires are starting to turn into demands
- Our desires make us oblivious to the needs of others
- Our desires are killing our appetite to grow in Christ
- We lose what we desire and it causes us to stop trusting God
- We lose what we desire and we stop loving other people
I strongly recommend you take the opportunity to read this article and find helpful insight and encouragement to continue to fully surrender your life to Jesus Christ because of who He is and what He’s done for you!
Grace & Peace, - Matt Kay