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Idols and Prosperity


“Idolatry is making anything more important than God, and our lives are full of that temptation. Money, looks, success, reputation, security—these are today’s idols.” (Life Application Study Bible, Leviticus 26:1-46)

“When God discloses our attachments, our inordinate loves, and the idolatrous bondages in our lives, He is urging us to sell all – to do whatever is necessary to rid ourselves of anything holding us back from life in Him.” (Dynamis 12/21/2014)

“Jesus does not ask all believers to sell everything they have, although this may be His will for some. He does ask us all, however, to get rid of anything that has become more important in life than God. If your possessions take first place in your life, it would be better for you to get rid of them.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 18:22-23)

"The deceitful charms of prosperity destroy more souls than all the scourges of adversity." (St.

Bernard)

“Idols are either false gods or things that turn us away from God…Whatever a man seeks, honors, or exalts more than God, is idolatry… When man puts his own interests above the spiritual, moral, and liturgical things of God, prosperity is fleeting.”(Orthodox Study Bible, 1 John 5:21, Zechariah 8:9, 10, William Ullathorne)

“Human beings have a tendency to invent idols. Whether grounded in our fear and need to control, or some other deep inner force, we simply have a way of creating false images of God.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The things of this world, when separated from God, deceptively promise fulfillment in the heart that they are incapable of delivering.” (Archimandrite Sergius)

“Reverence for material things is in itself a healthy and natural movement of the heart and mind.“How magnified are Thy works, O Lord! In wisdom hast Thou made them all; the earth is filled with Thy creation” (Ps 103:26). Trouble begins when we “exchange of the truth of God for the lie” (Rom 1:25). Men start to believe that creation holds supreme value and deserves our highest reverence and devotion. Here we find the source of idolatry...We see precisely what is wrong with the secular culture around us: a supreme devotion to and worship of material things to the exclusion of all else.” (OCPM 2/17/2016)

“We engage in idolatry when our hearts and minds attach faith, reverence, and fear to persons or things – when we direct our energies to creatures rather than the Creator.” (Dynamis 7/22/2015)

“God sent His Son. He didn’t leave us or abandon us. He wants to save us. He wants to lead us and direct us to truth, goodness, holiness, and happiness. Again the Gospel tells us faith in anything other than God, who became man in Jesus, is idolatry. We may be so scattered in our

lives that we look everywhere but towards Jesus for an answer or a direction or a purpose or

meaning to our life." (Father John Zeyack)

“Power, status, appearance or material possessions can become our gods if we devote our lives to them. But when we reach times of crisis and desperately call out to these gods, there will only be silence. They can offer no true answers, no guidance, no wisdom.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Kings 18:29)

“Ambition! We must be careful what we mean by it. If it means the desire to get ahead of other people—which is what I think it does mean—then it is bad. If it means simply wanting to do a thing well, then it is good.” (C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock)

“Material possessions, dreams of the future, approval of others, and vocational goals compete for our total commitment [to God].” (Life Application Study Bible, Jeremiah 1:16)

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold it would be a merrier world." (J.R.R. Tolkien)

"Idolatry is still a serious problem today, but it takes a different form. We don’t put our trust in statues of wood and stone but in paper money and plastic cards. Putting our trust in anything but God is idolatry.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 10:14)

“An idol can be almost any attitude, concept, person or material possession that strokes our own self-worth and takes our eyes off what God wants for our lives.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible)

“Our hearts seldom remain neutral when possessing this world’s goods…The material things we possess can either help us grow toward the grace of God or turn us away from the true life in Christ.” (Dynamis 10/6/2014)

"When God discloses our attachments, our inordinate loves, and the idolatrous bondages in our lives, He is urging us to sell all – to do whatever is necessary to rid ourselves of anything holding us back from life in Him.” (Dynamis 1/19/2014)

“In subtle, imperceptible ways we become like the idols we worship.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 135:15-18)

"God is ..the creator of both the material and the spiritual dimensions of reality…our deepest needs our spiritual.” ( Goarch.com, Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 34:9-10)

“Our hearts are preoccupied with the material. To recover our God-given nature, it is necessary to first reject this orientation and then seek to live the life of the Spirit. The Lord Jesus says plainly:"You cannot serve God and mammon” (Mt 6:24). To be united to the Lord, our focus first and foremost must be on prayer, meditation, worship…” (Dynamis 3/14/2014)

“Jesus says we can have only one master. We live in a materialistic society where many people serve money. They spend all their lives collecting and storing it, only to die and leave it behind. Their desire for money and what it can buy far outweighs their commitment to God and spiritual matters.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 6:24)

“A man may work hard to acquire money only to discover at the end of the day that the money actually acquired him.” (Douglas Wilson)

"In what does the true wealth of a man consist? In his image and likeness to God, and not in lands, nor money; neither in various earthly sciences and arts, nor in property of various kinds, nor in many servants, nor in many clothes, nor, in general, in a multitude of earthly blessings, for all these are corruptible, and temporal; while the soul – the image of God – is eternal, and its riches are virtue, holiness, humility, gentleness, temperance in all things, faith, hope, and above all, love!" (St. John of Kronstadt)

“Why do the Ten Commandments begin with a prohibition of idolatry? It is…because we never break the other commandments without breaking the first.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“There is always the danger, in this scientific age, that we will discount the possibility of falling into idolatry. The Israelites seem so unsophisticated when they demand the creation of"gods that shall go before us.” Yet we modern thinkers often show ourselves capable of being captivated by secular things and ideas. We fall into the trap of giving persons, programs, movements, or theories the devoted attention and obeisance due to God alone. This constitutes idolatry – the fashioning of other gods. This temptation is especially active when we are inconvenienced, fearful, or insecure.” (Dynamis 12/21/2013)

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage.” (C. S. Lewis)

"In Christ, life is intended to have purpose. Perhaps we all too easily become worshipers of life. We may make life itself into an idol….to make anything, including life, into the"be all and end all,” squeezes God out of the picture. It is our relationship with God in life that enables us to make sense out of seeming nonsense. Even when sense and purpose seem to escape us, we trust that one day we will understand. On that day we will come face to face with the author of life.” (Philip W. Williams)

"The man who is dissatisfied with his house and food will not become happy with more money; this is because one desire leads to another, he will soon want an even bigger house and even better food. Happiness for him can only be achieved by looking inward, and learning to enjoy whatever life has and this requires transforming greed into gratitude… Riches are not forbidden, but the pride of them is." (St. John Chrysostom)

“He [God] made us, and not we ourselves.” (Psalms 99:3 LXX, Psalms 100:3)

“God is our creator; we did not create ourselves. Many people live as though they are the creator and center of their own little world. This mind-set leads to pride, greed, idolatry, and if everything should be taken away, a loss of hope itself. But when we realize that God created us and gives us all we have, we will want to give to others as God gave to us.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 100:3)

"When the strengths and attributes of powerful humans or animals are revered or the cycles of nature are honored without reference to God who created them, this is idolatry." (Life Application Study Bible, Deuteronomy 4:19)

“Since the dawn of time, resistance to God has been the hallmark of the human race – the great problem plaguing every man and woman.” (Dynamis 5/28/2014)

“Someone who does not think of himself but thinks constantly of others, in the good sense, will be thought of constantly by God; and then others will also think of him. The more one forgets himself, the more God remembers him." (Elder Paisios the Athonite)

“Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” (Jesus Christ, Luke 12:15)

"To be wealthy and to serve God is extremely difficult. Often-times those who have money and possessions make Gods of them and ignore the One through whom they were able to acquire them.” (Marianne C. Sailus)

“Today, idols may take a different form (home, clothing, possessions) but what doesn’t change is that tangible objects are valued more than intangible realities (spiritual growth, salvation, giving to those in need, spending time with loved ones).” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 115:4-8)

“We’ve all gone through times when material things or exciting events have become more important to us than God...It’s easy to forget that earthly things—no matter how attractive they appear—are worthless and temporary substitutes for God’s love. We create our own idols and set up our own places to worship them. But every idol, no matter how shiny or attractive at the beginning, will inevitably tarnish and fade away over time.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible)"Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time." (Margaret Bonnano)

“...the Creator has control over the created object. The created object, therefore, has no right to demand anything from its Creator—its very existence depends on him. Keeping this perspective removes any temptation to have pride in personal achievement.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 9:21)

"God owns everything and gives us all good things in life. He gives us the strength to work, healthy minds and bodies and the motivation to achieve. In fact, we can’t even take credit for the air we’re breathing or the fact that our chest continues to rise and fall or that our heart keeps beating. Each moment we live in this life is a gift from his hand.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible)

“As long as you think there is a pretty good chance that you will achieve some of your dreams, as long as you think you have a shot at success, you experience your inner emptiness as"drive” and your anxiety as"hope.” And so you can remain almost completely oblivious to how deep your thirst actually is. Most of us keep telling ourselves that the reason we remain unfulfilled is because we simply haven’t been able to achieve our goals. And so we can live almost our entire lives without admitting to ourselves the depth of our spiritual thirst.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"Once the deep thirst for God dawns on us, we must focus our efforts on the work of salvation if we are to avoid falling into these temptations and delusions. Our experience is rather like that of a pilot searching for a place to land – we need to listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit, our controller. We follow the Spirit’s direction, devoting ourselves to God and His path to salvation.” (Dynamis 6/8/2014)

“Let us learn to deny our very selves and follow Jesus. Riches cannot buy us happiness or everlasting life. For it is only through God that we may obtain these priceless things.” (Marianne C. Sailus)

"True happiness comes only from God, not earthly possessions. Unfortunately, many people think that money can buy happiness and contentment...Money cannot buy happiness. It may buy things, but not health, love, or anything that truly matters. In fact, money can buy misery. The rich, especially the suddenly rich, can be plagued by worrying that money to the point of mental illness." (Marianne C. Sailus)

“…what do we really consider important in our lives? The world presents us with much that it sees as important (money, power, work, prestige, etc.). It make all these things look very attractive...these things are not necessarily bad unless they take the place of what should be our highest priority—living a Christ-centered life. We must remember that this world and everything in it is temporary. Our days are numbered; the amount of time we spend in this life can not even compare to the eternity of the kingdom to come. We will all pass from this world and when we do, it will no