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Yesterday, we closed out the “IDOLS” collection of talks. Many of us took some big steps forward in refocusing our worship off of ourselves and our preferred idols and onto Jesus instead. We recognized that much of our idol worship has to do with a lack of renewing our mind. Wrong thinking perpetuates our idol-making and minimizes the power of God in our lives.

Idols have a way of slowly, while we are unaware, making their way into our lives. We can either fear this and put up walls and insulate ourselves from the outside world or we can live confidently “in the world”, but not of it and believe that the Holy Spirit will redeem the times we live in. When Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 18, He didn’t say “take them out of the world” but, instead, prayed for them and for us. That we would be strengthened and protected as we are “in the world”.

Being in the world means we are surrounded by the culture of the world – and culture would have us believe that it is true and right. When we worship culture we, without realizing it, are worshiping APPROVAL, COMFORT, CONTROL and/or POWER (root idols). And, just as we don’t realize this, we also are often unaware that we are acclimating to the culture around us – living like, thinking like, believing like those who DON’T BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Because, to do otherwise may be uncomfortable, cost us approval, loss of control and power. And, slowly but surely, because we fear loss of these idols, we acclimate to…cultural idolatry. Which means that if you looked at the lives of many “christians”, you’d be hard pressed to find any distinctives that set them apart from the world at large!

So, how do we remain in the world, but not of it?  This scripture from the apostle Paul’s writing to the church in Rome is helpful as we think rightly about this.

Romans 12:2 [msg] “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

We remain in the world and not of it by seeking truth and living by it. What is truth? Jesus is! He is REAL and He is TRUTH! We believe this because of evidence, reason and our experience. Following the teachings of Jesus means that your life is not your own. It means that your life is focused on others in your life and those you are still to meet. When we follow Jesus, we do as He did. We follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. We rely on Him to lead us into all truth. Through him we identify every IDOL, we come against every stronghold because…

The truth is, when we worship false gods, we are either deliberately or unconsciously pledging allegiance to evil spirits whose only goal is to take God’s rightful place in our hearts. 

The truth is…STRONGHOLDS play in the mind, the imagination and thoughts. We need a renewed mind! We take every thought captive! 2 Cor 10:5 says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension [claim] that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

The truth is, in the name of Jesus, we name and break every stronghold, every idol! It must go in Jesus’ name! 

The truth is, to the follower of Jesus, an idol is nothing! So-called gods are just demons and their deceit, their fakery has no true power over us! Any power they have yields to the power of Christ! 

The truth is, we must choose this day who we will serve!

1 Corinthians 8:5-6 “There may be so called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords. But for us, there is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live. Amen!”  

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