If anyone secretly entices you—even if it is your brother, your father’s son or your mother’s son, or your own son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your most intimate friend—saying, “Let us go worship other gods,” you must not yield to or heed any such persons. Deuteronomy 13:6,8
For freedom Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1
Peer pressure is a powerful force. If you have teenagers they’ll use it to their advantage. “Everyone else has an iPhone,” they’ll say. Or, “Tommy got to take the car to the party, why can’t I?” On the one hand that seems like children pressuring their parents for something they want. On the other hand, the reasoning might well be their fear of not fitting in unless they have the phone or access to the car.
We adults may resist the temptation to keep up with the Jones. We know better than to try. It’s a race we’ll never win. Certainly we won’t follow others in idolatry! What of wholesale sell-out to soccer or swim clubs? What of our willingness to sacrifice our family for our own selfish pursuit of success or pleasure? Idols are no longer made only of silver or gold. Some are chrome-trimmed, or designer-labeled. Some we powder or shave daily.
If we are to recognize the siren call of the false gods all around us, we must first of all recognize how they enslave us. If we get on the treadmill of worldly success, we’ll never fully arrive. And if we do, we’re likely to consume ourselves with pride for the accomplishment If we manage to gain the attention of others through fame or success, we’ll end up propping ourselves up in an endless pursuit of image and influence. Financial success – or even financial independence – can enslave us if it becomes the most important thing in our lives.
Martin Luther is to have asid, “A god is that to which we look for the highest good in life.” If anyone – subtly or overtly – entices us away from God’s paths, be sure it is an invitation to anything but freedom and life. That is found in Jesus Christ alone. Faith in him will sustain us when we are tempted to follow other gods.