The Holy Bible is God’s revealed word to the world and to His followers. Its pages contain warnings about the dangers of idolatry, yet modern day believers fall prey to this sin just as Old Testament believers did.
I will relate a client’s deliverance ministry encounter that may be hard to believe. The Lord revealed that the man’s misplaced passion for God’s Word had become an idol for him. This unhealthy focus opened the door for demonic torment in his life, and it was destroying him.
Joshua 1:8 (NIV) encourages us to “keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
2 Timothy 3:15 (NIV) tells us that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Meditate, study and learn are biblical directives for us to follow, so that we may grow, mature and be equipped to do the works of ministry. These are all good and worthy aspirations.
I believe God’s greater purpose for us as we spend time in His word is that we deepen our relationship with Him by learning more of His heart, grace and endless love for us.
Avoid Idolatry: Worship the Lord of the Book
The believer’s walk is about developing a relationship with Christ: we should spend time in the Book of the Lord so we can better know and worship the Lord of the Book. This is the chief end of man, and we are to enjoy Him forever (Ecclesiastes 12:13, Psalm 115).
How can this great venture of devouring the Bible go awry?
“John” (an internet client) was in the midst of great despair and hopelessness. He had been unemployed for six months, and motivation for change had left him. He spent hours at home brooding about his predicament, eating the wrong foods and drinking alcohol excessively.
He had stopped reading the Bible because He was not getting anything out of it. He used an interesting telling phrase in our first session: he was “spiritually depressed.” He loved Jesus, had attended seminary for a season but had still lost his way. How did that happen?
John had always enjoyed studying and meditating on Scripture. After losing his job two years earlier, he had more time to analyze particular passages deeply and started to ask questions that he could not easily answer. The “once saved, always saved” debate fascinated him.
He then began to spend hours on his computer, researching internet sources about the Bible. That practice can yield negative results if wisdom and discernment are lacking.
Confusion rather than clarity began to infiltrate his thought processes. Doubt and unbelief crept in, and he began to question the authenticity of the Bible that he had so passionately devoured in the past.
John began a slow and steady falling away, stopped attending church, and when trials in his life began to unfold, unbelief overwhelmed his faith.
During our sessions, I listened to him and sought the Lord for insight on how best to help him even as we went through the deliverance ministry process. Holy Spirit dropped this thought in my mind, and I shared it with him:
“I believe the Bible has become an idol in your life. The demonic realm recognized that and, like any other idol, knocked it off the throne you had put it on, and now your walk has been shipwrecked”.
It was the first time that I had ever shared that observation with a counselee, but I knew it was from God. The comment startled him for a moment but he soon agreed, and we began a new journey to help him get back on track.
In another article, I outlined how Christians can put their pastors or ministry leaders on these pedestals. It is a tactic of demons so that they can work to dash our idol worship and lead His followers off the narrow road to life (Matthew 7:13-14).
The Bible: The Means to an End
As a Christian counselor, I believe we need a healthy and proper understanding of God’s word and its purpose for us. Knowing, understanding and meditating on the Bible is a means to an end (greater love, relationship, and worship of God) and not the end itself.
The Word of God is accurate and complete, and we must view it in its full context: line upon line, precept upon precept (Isaiah 28:10). When we get to heaven, we will have eternity to gain insights into those difficult passages that we do not grasp now.
If you are bible-fixated and not in a healthy, Spirit-filled, Bible-believing, Word-preaching church, you become vulnerable to deception from the demonic realm.
Do not be isolated–get involved and seek help from a competent pastor or counselor if you are stuck. My client took that first step and reached out for help. Will you?
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