Accept No Substitutes


Exodus 20:4-5

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,"


There are two principles in these verses that affect everything in our lives:

Don't idolize anything!

Worship God only.


So we think that doesn't sound so hard, do we? Let's pour into this in depth and then see what we think!



To "idolize" is to value someone or something more than we value God. It takes our focus off of God and onto someone or something else. No, we don't make little metal or wooden statues and bow down to them, but, oh how we worship images of success, status, material goods, wealth, and so on!

Deut 4:15-16 

 "Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape," (NIV)

"FOR YOUR OWN GOOD....don't sin by making an idol in any form at all." (GNT)


God provides us many reasons for not idolizing anything... probably because He knew we could not be 100% obedient to this command...and in His graciousness, over and over in His Word, He provided reasons and examples for this commandment.


Idols will always disappoint us.

    These things or people always promise more than they will deliver.


    Jer 10:14  "...those who make idols are disillusioned because the gods they make are false and lifeless." 

    Hab 2:18  "What's the use of an idol?  It's only something a man has made.  What good does it trust it?" 


Idols will dominate us.

    Before we know it, they will take over control of our lives. They will distract us and we'll lose our values. A person we allow to become an idol will control us by their approval or disapproval. The modern day term for this is codependent. It is still idolatry, no matter what we choose to call it.

    1 Cor 12:2  ".. (before you knew Christ) you were controlled by dead idols, who always led you astray.


    An addicton is a prime example of an idol. 


Idols will deform and destroy us.

    They will warp and reshape us into their image!

    Ps 115:8  "Those who make idols will become  like them, and so will those who trust in them."

    Jer 2:5  "They worshipped worthless things and became wothless themselves."

    We will always become like whatever is first place in our life! If it is money, we'll become materialistic.  If it is a person, we will take on their values, opinions, and characteristics.


    Well, if all this is true, why do we engage in idoltary! Following are three reasons:


We want to limit God's location. 

We want to keep Him in a box or at the church building and not to invade our everyday life! We don't really want Him around us all the time...He might cramp our style and/or make us give up some things we really enjoy!.


We want to reduce His power and size.  

We want Him to be less imposing and less threatening.  It's so much easier to change our concept of God, than to change ourselves. We've become a people who seem to hear the Bible verse wrong and say "This is the Lord the day has made"  We want Him in our lives just enough to bless us, but not enough to have any control.


We want to control God. 

We want to manipulate Him into what we want Him to be!



"Worship" - to give my highest love and devotion.

    Rom 1:25  "(Many) exchange the truth about God for a lie; they worship and serve what God has created instead of the Creator Himself."

There are many benefits to worshipping only God. Let's  explore only a few of them now.


  It delights us...we are fulfilled.

    Psalm 37:4    " Seek your happiness in the Lord and he will give you your heart's desire."

    Romans 10:11  "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed."



  It delivers us-.. we experience freedom.

    John 8:31-32  "Jesus said, 'If you obey my will know the truth and the truth will set you free.' "

    John 8:36   "If the Son sets you free, you will be really free."

    When we put God first, we don't have to please anyone!   We live to an audience of one!  WOW-- that takes off all the strain of having to perform!!!


  It develops us.. Let's us realize our full potential.

    2 Cor 3:18b  "As the Spirit of the  Lord works with us, we become more and more like Him."

Ephesians 4:13-15  "We arrive at maturity -- that measure  of development which is meant by 'the fullness of Christ.' "

Col 1:5   "Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. "


  Unfortunately, we have internal idols. We have mental idols- things we  think about and hide from others. We also have our own concept of God. Is our concept of God true or is it someone else's image of Him?  Are we putting characteristics of someone else- like my earthly father - on Him?

We can know what He is really like! He came to show us in the form of His Son. We can know the Son.....and if we know the Son, we know the Father. It's past time for us to see the Father for who He really is!!!  It's past time for us to put Him first place in our lives and to get to know the real image of God!

Let's hasten to rid ourselves of anything or anyone we have put in His place in our lives! We have wasted time, gifts and even our love on the wrong things if He hasn't been first place in everything!  Let us examine our hearts daily to make sure He is our all in all!!


Oh, Father, forgive us for placing anyone or anything in Your place! Help us tear down the idols we have allowed to take our devotion, love, time, and gifts. Take back what the enemy has stolen from us that belongs to You and guide us into the changes we have to make to put You first place. Help us become a people of God and not a god of people. Open our eyes to the deceit of the enemy and to confront his lies with Your Truth! May we daily come to know You more intimately and may we love You more each day than we did the day before. May we look to You for our every need. We praise You for giving us Your Son for our salvation, and for letting us be able to see You In Him!

In Jesus' precious name we pray,


Copyright 2001 Glenda Bell

(Thanks to Art Blankenship for his insights!)


"The danger of putting a person in the place of the Lord and in making pleasing them our goal is so subtle …. It builds like a slow melting snow bank on top of a pristine mountain, until it is a muddy raging torrent of water, carving through the granite walls of conviction moving even the foundational boulders of truth and crushing the life of everyone and anything in its path. It is not surprising that John wrote to us in his epistle “Little children keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21 

         We are all capable of any sin when we walk after the flesh rather than after the Spirit. Joy comes in knowing that God through Jesus Christ has forgiven us all sin; past, present and future; and ‘there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus’ Rom. 8:1  "

JoAnn Buckley

(Visit her site: Hope In Christ)


(Thank you,  Jo Ann!)





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