The Prostitution of Idolatry

We have whorish hearts. Every human being has a sinful nature that lusts for creation rather than the creator. Rather than embracing God, the lover of our souls, we run into the arms of false lovers. The heart behind all our sin is idolatrous adultery.  Hearing that we are all spiritual prostitutes might sting a little, but sometimes the truth does. Yet the good news is that there is a relentless lover of our souls who seeks after us.

The Rebellious Whore

In the Bible the book of Hosea describes and illustrates the spiritual prostitution that comes so naturally to our hearts. Hosea 9:1 states, "Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the whore, forsaking your God. You have loved a prostitute's wages on all threshing floors." Hosea goes on to describe how the people of God whore themselves out to food, drink, and pleasure in idolatrous worship.

Not only was this the heart of Hosea's message, Hosea's life was a living illustration. His own wife Gomer continually whored herself out to other men. Hosea not only preached about the heartbreak of adultery that God experiences in our own idolatry, he lived it.

Where are Your Idols?

Where are your idols? To which lover do you whore yourself out too? Are you fully and completely devoted to God? Although many westerners think we have progressed beyond the place of worshiping gods of stone, our society is just as pagan as ever. You can just watch a commercial break on TV and identify the idols we worship.

Sex. Money. Pleasure. Drunkenness. Partying. Ease. Comfort. Security. Success. Work. Fashion. Romance.

The list can go on and on. Although our idols are no longer carved out of wood does not mean that we are not an idolatrous culture. Despite the ways we whore ourselves out to these false gods, there is a God who is a loving husband and the greatest lovers of our souls who will not be content till we find all our joy, hope, and pleasure in Him alone.

The Lover of Our Souls

The God of the Bible is the great lover of our souls. He is the broken hearted husband who wants to love and cherish His bride. He is a jealous God who is not pleased when his children bend their knees to worship fake gods. He is a God who seeks us, who pursues us, and who resiliently chases after us. He made a way to purchase our freedom from the the spiritual sex slavery in which we find ourselves.

God purchases our redemption from the chains and control these idols have over us. He did it by laying down his life for us. He is the husband who came and took on the punishment, shame, and wrath that you and I deserve. His name is Jesus and on that cross the great lover of your soul provided a way for you to find true joy, peace, and pleasure in the warmth of His glorious presence. Where those false lovers disappoint and seek to use and abuse us, God loves us unconditionally. Despite our sin and disobedience He washes us and makes us clean in Jesus Christ.

Run to the Arms of Jesus

I do not know how you stumbled across this blog, but if your reading this the great lover of your soul longs to have you for himself. Turn away from the false lovers in your life that leave you empty and unsatisfied. Run to the arms of Jesus and grab his nail pierced hands. Stop prostituting yourself out to idols and turn to your savior and place your faith in Him. The great news about God is that not matter how great our sin may be, His grace is greater still. He extends His love to all, even to whorish spiritual prostitutes like us.

Have You Turned Your Spouse Into an Idol?

Marriage seems to be falling apart. We live in a society that is just plain confused about marriage. The high divorce rates are an indicator of the many unhealthy marriages and unhealthy homes in our society. Even many Christians have marriages that are seem to be toxic. Within marriages there can be adultery, anger, bitterness, porn addictions, verbal abuse, sexual denial, physical abuse, financial secrets, distrust, and the list can go on and on. Your own marriage might be filled with some of these same problems and issues. If so, you need to get some marriage counseling from a good biblical counselor or pastor. Yet, behind much of the great disharmony in marriages is the root of idolatry. More often then not, a man or woman has turned their spouse into their supreme idol of worship. The heart behind sin is idolatry. Idolatry is when we worship and serve created things rather than the creator God.(Rom 1:25) Although we might not literally bend our knee to these created things, we look for satisfaction, rest, and lasting joy from our idols rather than God. One of the most common idols people worship is romance. We have a passionate, desperate, and idolatrous longing for another human being to satisfy our roaming hearts. Not only does the idol manifest itself in the dating and hook up culture, but even within the sacred walls of marriage.

Marriage as Idolatry

Is your spouse your idol? Some questions to diagnose your heart:

  • Does your world revolve around your spouse?
  • When they disappoint you are you devastated?
  • If they fail you do you go into a full depression?
  • Do you place unrealistic expectations on your spouse?
  • Do you demand a certain lifestyle and luxuries that your spouse must provide?
  • Have you turned your spouse into an object of sexual pleasure? Do you become passive aggressive or bitter when you don't get your way?

Idols have grand promises, but never deliver. Spouse Idols make the same promises. They promise your marriage life will be as romantic as a Nicholas Spark's book or that your wife will be like June Cleaver with dinner on the table when you walk through the door. Idols make grand promises that cannot be delivered. They promise lasting joy with no sorrows and no hardships. Many newlyweds enter into marriage with these idolatrous expectations about their new marital bliss. Often times they live on that fleeting promise that spousal idolatry gives, until they get so frustrated and disappointed they just give up on their marriage and become another divorce statistic.

True Joy in Jesus

True joy and satisfaction cannot be found in your marriage but in Jesus. He delivers on the promises He makes. We must orient our worship towards the right object. We are not to worship creation, but the creator. We are not to worship our spouse but to worship Jesus Christ. In Jesus we receive lasting joy and lasting peace. Jesus as the son of God comes to the world as our savior, delivering us from the penalty of our sin through his death on the cross. As Jesus rose from the grave after three days, he guarantees his offer of life and life abundantly. He offers us life free from the shackles of the slave driver of idolatry. He frees us to find true joy and lasting peace in Him!

You see marriage is an absolutely wonderful thing. Marriage can be a source of incredible joy. God designed it for the good of humanity. Marriage is a great gift of God that pictures the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, sin can distort, twist, and destroy what God has created good. Marriage was not designed to complete us, but was designed for two souls to find their completion together in God.

Marriage as True Worship

Marriage was designed to be something much bigger than just a man and a woman being googly-eyed over one another. Marriage was designed as the foundational vehicle for bringing God glory. A man and woman must not turn inwardly to each other to find their purpose and joy. To turn our attention in our marriage inwardly is a quick path to idolatry. However, when we turn our attention outwardly towards God and his mission, marriage becomes a beautiful partnership of worship. Your marriage isn't about you and it isn't about your spouse, but it is about God and his glory. Your marriage has a purpose, and its not about your needs or getting your way. It is about bringing glory to God together as a couple. As you seek God's glory together as man and wife in worship, you will receive life and life abundantly through Christ.

A marriage focused on God is a marriage that will endure. Rather than seeking to use your spouse to serve your wants, you will serve your spouse so they can flourish in their worship of God. I'm convinced this great change of perspective is essential to developing healthy marriages within the church. When as a couple you are living for God's glory and advancing God's kingdom, it is amazing how much sweeter the intimacy can be with your spouse. As you both grow closer to your God you will find you've grown closer to each other. Together hand in hand you will spend your life fighting through hardships, discipling your children, serving your world, and proclaiming the Gospel all for the glory of God. This is worship and this makes marriage a glorious gift from God.

One of God's greatest gifts to me is my wife Kaitlyn. Not only has she given me so much joy, I'm thankful for my partner in ministry. I'm thankful that we can live our marriage to God's glory, and I praise God that he can take two rough sinners like us and by God's grace sharpen one another for the cause of Christ. Looking forward to as many years as God gives us to serve the Lord together as one.

Addiction to Performance

I am doing my best to get back into my blogging ministry.  Prayers are appreciated as I get used to life with a baby.  It has been a wonderful pass few weeks welcoming my son Jude Pierce Deeter into the world, but I'm still figuring out how to get back into the swing of things.  Starting today, I'll be picking back up my blogging ministry and will continue to post around three times a week.  As always thanks for reading! As the first post coming off of a paternity leave, I'd figure I'd share a video I found yesterday on Justin Taylor's Blog.  It is a powerful testimony of a pastor who got so caught up with the idolatry of performance that he nearly lost everything, including his marriage.  Since then, the Lord has restored him and has transformed his marriage and ministry.  As I watched this video I couldn't help but connect.  The idolatry of performance and people pleasing is a sin that lingers and so often deceives my heart.  Check out this video. Love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

httpv://vimeo.com/45947083

Cupid vs Jesus

It is February and that means Valentines Day is right around the corner. For many this is a day of great joy, for others it is a dreadful holiday better known as “single-awareness day”. I remember being in high school on the dreadful day. For some reason our SGA came up with a great idea to let students buy roses for those special somebody’s. As a result, all the popular people received a ton of these roses while those losers (including myself) received zero. Although this little fundraiser sounds so trivial it was devastating to so many students. We were finding our worth and our significance in how many roses we could collect. Many of us still try to find our worth and significance from the roses we can collect from the opposite sex. Everyone is looking for love and romance. In fact, if we don’t have love and romance in our lives we think that in some way we are less than complete. So many of us have turned cupid into an idol we worship. Have you ever thought the following?

  • If I just had a girlfriend I wouldn’t feel so lonely.
  • Maybe if I have sex with him, he would love me more.
  • Why Can’t I find a guy like the one in the movie?
  • Once I am able to get married, then I won’t feel unwanted.

If those four statements sound anything like your thoughts, chances are you are worshiping cupid. In Romans 1:25, Paul tells us that we desire worship created things rather than the creator God. This means that by nature we look to the things the world has to offer to satisfy us. For many of us this idol we worship become some mythical prince charming to save us from our circumstances. Now don’t get me wrong, romance and love are not bad things. In fact what Satan tends to do is to take good things that God created and make them into god things that we worship. Romance and love are great as long as they do not become your god. Listen very carefully, no man or woman will be able to satisfy the longing of your soul. You are looking for earthly things to fill what only Christ can! Many single and married people alike fall victim to this mistake. Even in marriages, we look find our joy and hope in our spouses rather than in Christ. Jesus is the only one who can satisfy the longing of your soul. He alone can make you complete. He alone can give you joy and peace. Don’t make to the mistake of believing the lie of Cupid. Romance will not bring you peace, only Jesus.

My prayer for you is that you would repent of your idolatry and worship Jesus. That you would ask him to forgive you of your vain pursuit of Cupid and give yourself totally to Jesus Christ. After all, He is the one who loved you enough to lay down his life for you. He is the one that went to the cross to bear your sin and punishment. No other man or woman will ever be able to do that for you. So Cupid vs Jesus. Who wins? Jesus every time.

Our Narcissistic Love for Technology

I love technology. In fact, I keep up with the latest trends and I can tell you the latest smartphone news.  You see, I grew up in the era where personal computers and cell phones were beginning to become main stream consumer items.  As a result, my connection and love of technology grew as computers became slimmer and more powerful to where now, through my iPhone 4s, I have the power of miniature computer in the palm of my hand.  We Americans love our gadgets.  We have our Kindles, iPads, Droids, and any other device we can get our hands on. We love them so much that there are massive websites filled with fans dedicated to the seeking out of rumors about the next big gadget.  Our love with technology can border on idolatry, and I think the Bible explains why we have such an idolatrous obsession with the latest and greatest gadget. In Romans 1, Paul begins to unpack the depravity of the human heart and mind.  The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 1:25 that each of us have "exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." Within the sinfulness of our own hearts we choose creation over creator every time. We don't want to worship God or give him glory, we will just take the things he created instead.

Humanity throughout the history of the world have acted out this terrible exchange. In older ages, it revealed itself in pagan worship of the sun and stars or other things in nature. However, the one creation that we humans love to bend our knee is to ourselves. Humanity, created for the purpose of the worship of the true God, chose to worship ourselves and exalt our own glory. This wretchedness rears its ugly head in different ways throughout various generations, this time most recently in our own progress.

We westerners who live in an post-enlightenment era, where our own intellect and reason is most supreme, worship our own intellect and progress. We love to sit back and stand in awe of our technological progress. We bask in the glory of all we have accomplished and made, including our technology which we cherish so deeply. Here is the irony, we who were created by God to bring him glory instead seek to give ourselves glory through our own creations. We are attempting to hijack God’s plan of bringing himself glory through creation.

Not only did we have the audacity to worship ourselves and reject our creator, but we also have the gall to worship ourselves through the earthly trinkets we make. We think what we make not only is on par with God's creation, but actually exceeds it in prestige and excellence. It is like comparing a toddler's out-of the line coloring book to the works of Leonardo daVinci and thinking that the toddlers work is by far the more superior work of art.  God is the masterful creator and architect and we are but mere toddlers trying to figure out how to color in the lines of God's created order.

Technology is an incredible tool. I am typing this on a macbook and posting this on my blog on a website. Technology can be a wonderful tool but a perilous master.  Are you distracted from your family by a game of angry birds?  Do you spend more time reading Facebook or posting tweets than you do in prayer?  Are you looking to the god of technology to save you from your circumstances?  As you use it, check your heart and make sure that you are not glorifying human ingenuity and progress instead of God our redeemer.  Remember that your flesh's instinct is to worship creation, even man made creations, rather than the creator God.

We are in desperate need for new hearts and new minds! Thanks be to Jesus Christ who through his blood on the cross absorbs God's wrath for our sin. Through the transformative power of the Gospel, may our hearts halt our treacherous worship of creation and may we bow our knee to the true God and King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ministry Idolatry

People are worshipers. As God's image bearers we are created to be worshippers of something. Many find themselves guilty of worshiping the idols of culture such as money, sex, fame, fortune, and comfort. People lay down their time, health, money, and even their family in the worship of their idols. As a pastor and shepherd of God's church, so often ministry turns into an idol. The grind of teaching, leading, and counseling can quickly become such a priority that Pastors quickly sacrifice everything on the alter of ministry success. It is the hidden sin of many Godly men. In fact, the first thing that is often sacrificed on the alter of ministry is family. Our marriages suffer, our children are neglected and we spend so much time pastoring the church that we forget to pastor our own families. Our relationship with our wives and children must be more important than our work at the church. If our wives and children suffer and if we neglect our own households, we very well might be disqualifying ourselves from pastoral ministry. In Paul's list of the qualifications of overseers in 1 Timothy 3:1-17, he makes it very clear that an overseer must "manage his own household well". The reason for this is qualification is rather simple, and Paul explains why in the text. Paul asks how can a man be expected to lead and shepherd God's church if the man cannot even lead and shepherd his own family? Pastors and ministry leaders, the same rings true for us today. How can we be expected to lead the body of Christ if we are not even leading our own families in the truth of the Gospel. Family must be a priority; the Bible commands it.

However in my experience, some of the worst marriages I see are the marriages of pastors. The irony of course is that these guys are supposed to set an example to the congregation of how to lead and serve their families. Tragically, many pastors set a terrible example for their congregation. There is no emotional connection, friendship, or sexual intimacy with their wife. There are no date nights or time set aside simply to enjoy one another. They haven't won the hearts of their children because they have been at one to many late night meetings. Family worship and devotion are neglected and ignored all in the name of our ministries.

I speak as one who often finds himself guilty of worshiping the idol of ministry. As a young pastor and minister of God's word, I don't want to sacrifice the friendship and intimacy I have with my beautiful wife Kaitlyn on the idol of ministry. I don't want to neglect my future children because ministry consumes every ounce of my time. May I never hear my children say, "The Church stole my Dad".

Pastor, are you neglecting your family? In what ways can you better engage and connect with your wife and your children? What church activities and responsibilities do you need to delegate out for the sake of the health of your own family?

Don't delay in repentance.

Jesus vs Material Possessions

There is something intoxicating about buying something brand new. From the smile that springs across our face when we purchase a new car, or how great we feel after buying a brand new pair of shoes, or celebrating the coolness of our latest technological gadgets. It is no secret that Americans love to buy and have new things. Despite our vain pursuit of attaining all things new, none of it really satisfies. Sure you might enjoy that brand new outfit for a while, but pretty soon that intoxicating feeling fades away as you, the materialistic junkie, goes out and finds your next fix as the bill for that plastic gold continues to inflate. We build our lives around the attaining and achieving of material wealth. Our children are told to go to college, so that they can make more money so that they can buy more stuff. Then the infinite financial juggling of keeping up with the Joneses begins as a bigger and bigger house is acquired and newer and more expensive cars are purchased. The reality is that our whole American culture and economy is built around the celebration and worship of consumerism.

However despite being one of the richest countries in the world, we are constantly miserable and uncontent. We also want more, or think life will get a little bit better if we could just grab that promotion, or purchase that boat. Have you ever wondered why this is the case? What is it about our souls that refuses to be content in these material possessions? The answer? Material possessions do not satisfy, only Jesus Christ can satisfy the longing and desire of our heart. The glory of all possessions fail and just end up in good will or at the landfill.

The greed and idolatry of American Culture causes us to easily find our joy and contentment in material possessions. Our souls long for something more than mere earthly trinkets. They desire the eternality of joy, and satisfaction that Jesus gives us. He died on the cross in your place for your sins to unite you with God. Our delight and treasure is found in Him and Him alone. Our hearts are all to often satisfied with junk rather that the creator God who has redeemed us through Christ.

Be cautious and watch your heart that you do not find your joy in ‘things‘ but in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Check your priorities. Guard the check book. Prayerfully watch over your heart. Listen to the Spirit as he reveals inconsistency. Repent of sin. Do not be content living in a pile full of stuff, instead of finding your joy in Christ.