In light of Ron’s sermon ‘mini-series’ on false teachers and teaching, I think it behooves us to think clearly about our own propensity to embrace false teachers or their messages. It just seems all so simple to have desires that are a little out of whack, without realizing that these very desires can lead us to embrace a message that is not overtly “false," but in reality, leads us down a path of selfishly seeking to satisfy desires that may not be bad in and of themselves, but end up being freight in our souls that they take on a life of their own. Like Ron said, its like Aaron’s calf. “Hey, I just threw in a bunch of jewelry and out came this calf!" He makes it sound like this idol seemed to have just appeared out of nowhere. We desire something "over-much." The desire rules us, even though the thing may not be sinful or wrong, but our over-desire causes us to start throwing our time, emotions, energy, and resources into the furnace of selfishness and low and behold...out comes this golden calf! An ‘idol’ that draws our attention and energy away from the Lord.
How can you tell if you have such and idol?
Well first of all its safe to assume we probably do! John Calvin said our souls were “idol factories”. We are constantly dealing with them. Some of them might come and go pretty quickly and others might stay with us for years. Some can be big and obvious and some fairly benign and not easily seen. In the end we are receiving false teaching. We are choosing to listen to something or imbibe something that slowly begins to take hold of our souls. We begin to invest more and more of our time and energy embracing something that feeds into our over-desires and we end up worshipping something quite different than God himself. Selfish gods...appearance, material things, popularity, respect, need for love, peace and quiet, self-esteem, honor and recognition and on and on it goes. Remember these things may not be wrong in and of themselves, but our willingness to worship them supplants God himself. And keep in mind their are lots of people out there who will seek to tell you you need and deserve these things and should in fact go after them. If you are on the internet, Facebook, or blogs at all, you are probably being inundated with false teaching and false teachers. When you do go after these things, you only find they don’t satisfy and you actually lose the thing you wanted and needed the most; a vital and healthy relationship with the Lord, who is to be the ultimate focus of our worship. You got what you wanted but don’t want what you got!
So whats the solution?
Let me give you a couple of thoughts:
1. Have a healthy mistrust of yourself. The moment you think you're not vulnerable is the time you probably are.
2. Walk humbly. Be aware of your need of God and the gospel daily.
3. Be careful what and who you listen to or read. Pay attention to what they are appealing to and evaluate everything through the lens of God’s Word.
4. Stay plugged in to the life of the local church and godly, healthy relationships. The Church is not here as one of many possible things that are helpful, it is the very thing God has created to help you stay in the truth. In the context of the church, we give and receive encouragement, care, and accountability that can spare us many pains. Imagine...we don’t have to do any of this alone. We have the Holy Spirit within us and are surrounded by those with whom we walk this life out for God’s glory! Together we can melt the golden calf. How exciting is that!!!