As I have recently said, I just finished another summer camp for our middle school ministry. The camp’s teaching was centered on the theme of the True God and idols. The camp was called, One God: The True God Among Imposters. It was a great time and I think we all benefited from it.
One thing that stood out to me in my study time and more so as I was preaching throughout the week was this one phrase: our disobedience to one is obedience to another. What I mean is, when we disobey Jesus, Our Lord, it is only because we want to obey something or someone else at the time. For example:
When one chooses to dishonestly cut corners for a promotion at work, they are disobeying Jesus so they can obey the idol of success.
When one chooses to be sexually immoral with their boyfriend/girlfriend/one-night-stand, they are disobeying Jesus so they can obey the idol of pleasure or relationship.
When one chooses to hide their sins from others or lie about them to save face, they are disobeying Jesus so they can obey the idol of their public reputation.
When one chooses to gossip about others, they are disobeying Jesus so they can obey the idol of self-advancement or their own bitterness.
When one chooses to look at pornography, they are disobeying Jesus so they can obey the idol of sexual pleasure.
When one chooses to be unforgiving, they are disobeying Jesus so they can obey the idol of self-vengeance or hatred.
The list can go on and be said about any type of sin we find ourselves practicing. All sin is obedience to an idol and disobedience to Christ. Idolatry does not only happen when you intentionally give your entire life to something, but it can happen at any moment where something else becomes more important to you than Christ. Therefore, any and every sin is more a result of idolatry than anything else. When we choose to disobey Jesus, it is only because at that moment we find something else more compelling than Him. All of our disobedience to Christ is simply obedience to something else. This is why sin is so serious in the eyes of God because it is an act of devotion and worship to something else. Far from being harmless, silly mistakes, sin is fruit of idolatry.
Before you leave, there is one more thing to be said.
Not only is our sin a fruit of our idolatry, but conversely, our obedience to Christ is a fruit of our love for Him. We obey Jesus when He is most precious to us. Our love for Christ will result in our obedience to Him. Jesus teaches this with greatest clarity during the last supper…
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:14
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.” John 14:21
“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word.” John 14:23
“Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.” John 14:24
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.” John 15:10
You see, for Jesus, our love for Him is best demonstrated in our obedience. Our worship of Christ will show up in our obedience to Christ. If we live lives of unrepentant disobedience that is only because we live lives of unrepentant idolatry. But when we obey Jesus above idols, that is demonstrable proof that He reigns alone as King of our hearts. Why? Because you will always obey what/who is most important to you. Your loyalty lies with whom you love the most.