"I don’t know about you, but I have a romantic attachment to railroad travel; I am a sucker for railways. It probably dates back to my childhood, when travel by railroad in England meant you were going on holiday. And so the image of the law as a railroad track makes a lot of sense to me. A railroad engine is designed to travel on a railroad track. When it is on the track it does just fine, and it can enjoy life as its designer intended it to. But suppose a railroad engine says to itself 'these tracks are so confining; the scenery is so much better away from the track. I am going to jump off the tracks and enjoy my life as I want to.' What happens? Disaster!
"And the Ten Commandments are like the railroad tracks for us. God designed us so that we would be most fulfilled and most at peace with ourselves and our neighbors when we stay on the tracks by living according to the ten commandments. If we say to ourselves, as so many people do 'but they are so confining; I am going to explore life beyond these restrictions', then we risk coming to ruin and destruction.
"Now don’t misunderstand me at this point. I am not saying that obeying the ten commandments will make you a Christian; far from it. The Pharisees of Jesus’ time were scrupulous in their obedience, and yet they committed the serious sin of wrongfully condemning Jesus to death. But what I am saying is that these commandments were given by God for our good, and for our protection as Christians. God made us, and He knows how we operate and how we will be happiest and most fulfilled." (David Kingston, sermon, 9/7/08)
“Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that is meant to be worshiped.” (Augustine, AD 354-430)
“Whatever a man seeks, honors, or exalts more than God, is idolatry.” (William Bernard Ullanthorne, 1806-1889)
"When I was a little girl my mother would often say to me, 'Edith, I know just who you've been playing with today.' She knew because I had become something like the other little girl, whichever one it was, enough like her that the girl could be identified by my changed accent, my mannerisms, and other telltale changes. Children often copy other children quite unconsciously. So do adults. We are affected by the people we spend time with, in one way or another. God makes clear to us that not only is it sin to bow down to idols and worship or serve them, but that there is an effect which follows very definitely. People who worship idols become like them.” (Edith Schaeffer, "The Art of Life", Christianity Today, Vol. 35, no. 8)
“If I live indifferently to the things of the Lord, ...if I continually give in to every suggestion of the flesh, ...if I have a love affair with materialism and acquiring things at any cost, If I chase after empty, hollow images for the rest of my life, then my children and their children will do this as well. If God does not have the proper place in my life then the repercussions will be felt from generation to generation. Basically God is reminding us that our children will COPY our sins. They will follow our example when it comes to the things we worship.” (Mark Adams, Redlands Baptist Church)
“A budget is a theological document. It indicates who or what we worship.” (James S. Hewett)
"I'm going to sit down and make myself a god.
I'll have a faith that won't make me seem odd.
I want this god available when it is convenient.
Of course his doctrines will be ever so lenient.
I'm going to create my own god you see.
Because I don't want my god embarrassing me." (Unknown)
“The reason we lie (or ever do any sin) is because at that moment there is something we feel that we simply must have--and so we lie. One typical reason that we lie (though it is by no means the only one) is because we are deeply fearful of losing face or someone's approval. That means, that the 'sin under the sin' of lying is the idolatry (at that moment) of human approval. If we break the commandment against false witness it is because we are breaking the first commandment against idolatry. We are looking more to human approval than to Jesus as a source of worth, meaning, and happiness. Under the sin of lying is the failure to rejoice in and believe in our acceptance in Christ. Under the sin of lying is a kind of heart-unbelief in the gospel (whatever we may tell ourselves intellectually.)
“At the root, then, of all Christian failures to live right--i.e. not give their money generously, not tell the truth, not care for the poor, not handle worry and anxiety--is the sin under all sins, the sin of unbelief, of not rejoicing deeply in God's grace in Christ, not living out of our new identity in Christ.” (Tim Keller, “On Preaching In A Post-Modern City”)
Oh for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heav'nly Frame;
A Light to shine upon the Road
That leads me to the Lamb!
The dearest Idol I have known,
Whate'er that Idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy Throne,
And worship Only Thee.
(William Cowper, English poet and hymnwriter)