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Interconnected Idols

Idolatry Pride Temptation

Contributed By: Jason Seville | Date Posted: 2019-03-06

Scripture: Colossians 3:5 ; Ephesians 4:22

Author: Jason Seville
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ILLUSTRATION

I was recently meeting with a young man in our church who has been very successful in business. Originally from Silicon Valley, he climbed his company's corporate ladder before taking six months off to focus on family, faith, and personal health. He's gotten to a really healthy place personally and spiritually and so he's recently decided to get back in the game and apply for some jobs. 

A corporate headhunter helped him find two great jobs pretty quickly. One is with a startup in a new industry that would pay a lot but also require a lot of hours. A second is with a household-name tech giant that would pay less but allow for a better balance of work, family, and church.

It wasn't easy for him and we met for several straight weeks as he labored over his decision. He finally told me that he was willing to prioritize the right things even if it meant sacrificing money. He knows that money isn't necessarily wrong or evil, but that the money that was so enticing for this job would come with some trade-offs in his life that aren't worth it. 

I told him that I was proud of him and that that I thought it was very wise for him in this season of life to take less money for a better work-life balance. 

You can imagine my surpirse, then, when we met the following week and he told me that he turned down the balanced job and took the lucrative job with the smaller startup. 

When I asked what happened, he hung his head and said that the job title offered by the tech giant was what he couldn't stomach. He'd gotten himself to a place where taking less money was palatable, but not where a lesser title was palatable. (They offered him a senior manager position when his level of expertise and qualifications should give him a job with the word "director" in the position title.) 

"It's pride. I know it's nothing but pride. But taking the lesser position would negate all the work and progress I've made. It would look poorly on me if I were to change jobs later on down the road."  

So, here he is again--back in the rat race. He's working 80-hour weeks and having to leave his family to travel all over the world. He dealt with his temptation to greed, but as soon as he did pride took its place. 

APPLICATION

This is how sin works. It's a shape-shifter. We must remain vigilant against it and fill up our affections with the love of Christ because merely removing a love (e.g., greed) is insufficient because another love will take its place (e.g., pride). This illustration is also a reminder of the interconnectedness of our idols. We can't just focus on one struggle or temptation in our lives. There is rarely ever one single thing that is lurking to take us down. It's usually a web of temptations. 

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5). 

Vain Jangling

Words (Power of) Pride Wisdom

Source: preacherpollard.coml

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2018-03-10

Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:6 ; Proverbs 17:27

Author: Neal Pollard
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ILLUSTRATION

The English language has done some changing in the 400-plus years since the King James Version was made available. Within its pages, you’ll find phrases like “straitened in your own bowels” (2 Corinthians 6:12), “superfluity of naughtiness” (James 1:21), “bloody flux” (Acts 28:8), “filthy lucre” (1Timothy 1:7), and “the thick bosses of his bucklers” (Job 15:26).

There is a beauty and picturesqueness to the Elizabethan English, though. One example of this is in 1 Timothy 1:6, which warns against “vain jangling.” To me, that’s a vivid way of translating a compound Greek word translated elsewhere as “fruitless discussions” (NASB), “idle talk” (NKJV), “vain discussion” (ESV), “meaningless talk” (NIV), and “empty talk” (MEV). Have you ever heard anyone jangling keys or coins in their pockets? It’s usually a nervous tic and mindless habit, but it can be loud and annoying. 

The cause of this "vain jangling" is revealed in verse 7, that “they want to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.” 

APPLICATION

We need to be cautious lest we become religious noisemakers, banging and clanging with reckless abandon. Our words hold the power of spiritual life or death within them (Proverbs 18:21). Thus, great restraint, copious forethought, and thoughtful execution ought to control our speech, wherever it is “heard.”

Otherwise, we may simply be declaring our thoughtless ignorance, both uninvited and unwelcome, and come off sounding like three dollars of pennies churning in the pocket of a champion fidgeter.

"A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered" (Proverbs 17:27). 

Together, We Will Replace God

Pride Listening Rebellion

Source: “Collective consciousness to replace God,” Reuters, By Douglas Busvine, Reuters, October 12, 2017

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-12-12

Scripture: Genesis 3:5 ; Proverbs 16:18

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

Reuters reports;

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Humanity no longer needs God but may with the help of artificial intelligence develop a new form of collective consciousness that fulfills the role of religion, U.S. author Dan Brown said on Thursday.

Brown made the provocative remark at the Frankfurt Book Fair where he was promoting his new novel, Origin, … inspired by the question "Will God survive science?"

"... Are we naive today to believe that the gods of the present will survive and be here in a hundred years?" Brown, 53, told a packed news conference.

... Turning to the future, Brown said technological change and the development of artificial intelligence would transform the concept of the divine.

"We will start to find our spiritual experiences through our interconnections with each other," he said, forecasting the emergence of "some form of global consciousness that we perceive and that becomes our divine".

"Our need for that exterior god, that sits up there and judges us ... will diminish and eventually disappear."

APPLICATION

Who is really being naïve, those who place their faith in man or in God? It’s amazing how quick we are to place our faith in man despite the many lessons offered to us by history.  But we keep thinking, “This time we’ll get it right!”

But we don’t even need the aid of history to realize how ridiculous this proposal really is--just spend a little time in the comments section of a trending story.  The typical banter found in these comment forums should dispel the idea that a global human consciousness will replace the voice of God.  Man’s vitriol and collective ignorance is a poor substitute for the wisdom of God.

As individuals, we aren’t the men and women God says we should be.  Nevertheless, we are supposed to believe that collectively we will replace God. Really? As though all we need is more of a bad thing to equal a better thing. 

I hear echoes of the serpent in the Garden, who suggested that Adam and Eve really didn’t need to listen to God anymore.  The idea was that in their disobedience they would somehow “be like God.”  We see how that worked out.

"For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). 

"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). 

Who Robs A Food Bank?

Thankfulness Stealing Pride

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-11-09

Scripture: Mark 8:36

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Making Change

Giving Judging Pride

Contributed By: Allen Povenmire | Date Posted: 2016-06-21

Scripture: Mark 12:43

Author: Allen Povenmire
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Doubling Down On Stupid

Teachability Foolishness Pride

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-05-25

Scripture: Proverbs 26:11 ; Proverbs 16:18

Author: Illustration Exchange
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What Are You “Counting” On?

Faith Worry Pride

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-05-02

Scripture: Philippians 3:7

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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Don't Be Satisfied With A Better Mug Shot

Hypocrisy Repentance Pride

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-03-04

Scripture: Matthew 6:5 ; Matthew 23:27

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Who Needs An Electrical Toy?

Pride Vision Spiritual Blindness

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-02-26

Scripture: Proverbs 16:18 ; 2 Corinthians 6:2

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Lost Or Confused

Pride Lost Arrogance

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-02-10

Scripture: Matthew 23:12 ; John 10:9

Author: Attributed to Thomas Nelson Publishers
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