THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE CALL TO HOLINESS
IDOLS AND HOLINESS
Our God is a holy God. He is set apart from all other gods.
Thus one great sin is idolatry, when we forsake Him in favor
of other gods.
people are prone to such. Already knowing the one true God,
they still turn to other gods. This happened with God’s
chosen people, as “the Israelites did what was evil
in the sight of the Lord. They served the Baals, and abandoned
the Lord” (Jgs 2:11-12a). This happens today to God’s
people, the Christians.
the evil one does not get people to worship him directly,
though some Satanist cults do so. Rather, the evil one puts
up attractive fronts, by which God’s people end up rejecting
Him and in effect worshipping the devil as they idolize its
do Christians today worship other gods?
they embrace secular humanism. As with the Israelites, they
“mingled with the nations and imitated their ways.”
(Ps 106:35). So many Christians today have taken on the zeitgeist,
a worldly culture that is very unchristian. They are into
consumerism, materialism and hedonism.
they look to what the world looks to, such as money and power.
In doing so they would do anything to achieve their wants,
such as turning to corruption and even violence to those who
stand in their way. As with the Israelites, “they served
their idols and were ensnared by them.” (Ps 106:36).
they accept the abomination of abortion, which is enshrined
by modernists toady as a human right. Radical feminists even
look to abortion as a sacrament. As with the Israelites, “they
sacrificed to demons their own sons and daughters, shedding
innocent blood, the blood of their own sons and daughters”
they defile the sanctity of marriage by committing adultery.
“They defiled themselves by their actions, became adulterers
by their conduct.” (Ps 106:39). Christians, especially
in the West, have embraced sexual licentiousness. The fruit
has been divorce and family breakdown.
What is the way out for God’s people today? It is repentance
for sins committed and returning back to God. When we turn
to God as we realize the misery of lives of sin, God forgives.
“Still God had regard for their affliction when he heard
their wailing.” (Ps 106:44). Then, if we are to be fully
restored to God, including in the afterlife, we are to live
lives in obedience to God’s commands. “If you
wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Mt
it is not enough to repent and try to lead a good life. That
is just the start. God wants more from His people. He wants
them to be holy. We are to strive for Christian perfection.
We are to imitate Christ and live his way of life. This is
our protection from being enticed by the world and falling
into its traps. God does not force us to be holy, but we must
be the ones to desire it. Jesus tells the rich young man,
“If you wish to be perfect” (Mt 19:21a).
the case of this young man, he was living out God’s
commandments. “All of these I have observed.”
(Mt 19:20a). To his credit he wanted more. “What do
I still lack?” (Mt 19:20b). Knowing that he was rich
and how riches can be an idol for many, knowing that one cannot
serve both God and mammon, Jesus told him, “go, sell
what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure
in heaven.” (Mt 19:21b). Keeping the commandments while
keeping his wealth could have brought him to heaven. But there
was a better alternative, a more perfect way. It was to have
God alone, and not allow potential idols into one’s
life. As it was, wealth already had a hold on the young man’s
heart. On hearing Jesus’ words, “he went away
sad, because he had many possessions.” (Mt 19:22).
from the lessons of history, how God’s chosen people,
both the Israelites then and Christians today, have veered
away from the right path and into idolatry. The challenges
today are the same. It is part of man’s fallen and sinful
nature. It has been so generation after generation, as God’s
people “would again do worse than their ancestors, following
other gods, serving and bowing down to them, relinquishing
none of their evil practices or stubborn ways.” (Jgs
are called to holiness and Christian perfection. It is going
beyond the basic requirements. It is being an authentic disciple,
focused only on the Master. Let us hear Jesus say, “Then
come, follow me.” (Mt 19:21c).
For reflection and/or group discussion:
are the idols in your life (you may not admit it, but search
your heart more intently)? Is it money and possessions? Is
it power, position and career? Is it recognition and acclaim,
even with your Christian service?
Considering the rich young man (you may not be as rich as
him, but considering the poor widow who gave all she had,
you are rich), do you support the community generously with
your money? Or is financial giving the last priority in your
list, and the first to go when funds are tight? Then you rob
God, and you have fallen into the idolatry of money.
Do you wish to be perfect? (Hint: there is only one correct