A lot of Christians are being fooled into sinning, but they are not even aware of it. Bestselling author John Bevere said that believers' wrong notion of right and wrong are leading them into idolatry, and it's an "insidious deception" that the devil thrives on.
Bevere said the best story from the Bible that demonstrates this sin comes from the golden calf at Mount Sinai. "If you remember, God had just saved Israel from Egypt through many powerful miracles and had led them through the wilderness to Mount Sinai. He spoke His commands to them, but they all shrank back and insisted that Moses go up the mountain to talk to God alone," he wrote for Charisma News.
While Moses was up the mountain, the people lost patience and came up to his brother, Aaron. They demanded that he create gods to lead them into the Promised Land, and Aaron obliged. He fashioned a pagan god - a statue of a golden calf - and declared to the people that he will lead them from the land of Egypt.
But when Aaron presented the pagan god to the people, he specifically referred to it as the true God of Israel. He said in Exodus 32:5b: "Tomorrow will be a feast to the Lord."
"Now when it says, 'Lord,' what's written there is the name, 'Yahweh,' the name of God. Now we know who they are talking about," Bevere explained. "Here's what's going on: They are declaring, 'Yahweh is our God. Yahweh saved us from Egypt. Yahweh is our Lord,' yet they are worshiping an idol. We must see this warning, because if they could have all the right declarations while still worshiping an idol, we can too."
The same thing is sadly still happening today, the minister warned. Christians declare that "Jesus is Lord," but they do not really follow Jesus. Just like the people God delivered from Egypt, Christians of today follow their desires instead of God's will.
"Many Christians pick and choose which passages of Scripture they want to follow and ignore the rest that challenge them," he said. "This is creating a knockoff Jesus - an idol. It is not worshipping Jesus in truth."
Earlier, Pastor John Piper of Desiring God described an idol as something a person values, loves, and desires more than God. It could be a girlfriend, good grades, a thriving business, or sexual stimulation. "It could be a hobby or a musical group that you are following or a sport or your immaculate yard," he said. "Or your own looks could be an idol. It could be anything."
However, Piper warned Christians against idolatry because the righteous wrath of God is upon it. "If we find God to be so boring or so negligible that we must put other things in his place that really satisfy us more than he does, then we not only offend him, but we also destroy ourselves. And those two things make God angry," Piper continued.