Reading through Ephesians today, I came across this verse: “For this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person – such a man is an idolater – has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.”(Chapter 5 verse 5)
In light of the recent development in the US regarding same sex marriage and other issues I have been drawn to the idea of the three great problems that are keeping Westerners in particular out of God’s Kingdom.
We are obsessed with three main things it seems to me: firstly, with ourselves. Humanism’s push to replace God with Man is now reaping its fruit in a self-obsessed society. This goes way beyond the ‘selfie’ culture which of itself can be quite harmless but like many things contains the seeds of danger. I admit to taking selfies myself but there is a growing obsession among many with the selfie and this is perhaps one of the more obvious signs of our obsession with ourselves. It also shows itself in the emphasis on my needs, my desires, my inclinations becoming the driving force for re-shaping society so that the ‘mys’ can be easily met.
Sex of course is a well documented obsession. The proliferation on the Web of porn sites (now possibly the greatest percentage of sites on the Web), the growth of TV shows and movies where sex is the key focus, the change in clothing fashion to accentuate sexuality, the music industries video clips and so on all point to our intense interest in all things sexual. Resulting from this of course is a greater acceptance of what used to be considered sexual aberrations such as homosexuality, transgenderism etc. We know that the the growth of the abortion industry as a direct by-product of the desire for free sex i.e. sex free of any consequences such as pregnancy. Trevin Wax tweeted today – ‘In the U.S., abortion is the blood sacrifice we make on the alter to the goddess of unfettered sexual behaviour’.
Thirdly, it seems to me, we are obsessed with what I have called substance (for want of maintaining the alliteration only!). Materialism is the desire for goods and services to pander to our every want and the belief that unless we can access something with our senses it cannot be real – so the loss of interest with many people in spirituality and faith matters. We live in a consumer society where we all fall under pressure to buy and buy more.
These three seem to go together. My self obsession leads to an unfettered giving in to all my desires and the ‘I want” aspect of me becomes focused on getting more and more things to satisfy these desires. The Bible calls this idolatry because whenever we put things, including ourselves, before God and worship them we have sought to de-throne the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and severed our relationship with him.
We are worshiping creatures designed to worship the true God but without a re-creation of our innermost, fallen nature, we will look to worship anything but this God. Thankfully, there is hope in Jesus Christ who opens for us the possibility of reunion and re-creation when self, sex and substance can take their rightful places in our lives.