I used to think when God was talking in the Bible about the wicked and unrighteous He was always referring to “other” people – never me. Well, it wasn’t until I went through a really difficult season in my life, when The Lord Jesus was exposing all kinds of sins: things that needed addressing, old patterns that needed to be examined, forgiveness and discord that needed healing, that indeed, the realization came – he was speaking to “me”. This morning I had it on my mind to look up the definition of a “depraved mind”–go figure? I found a great blog by Olan Strickland who made the case that most sin stems from the root of idolatry. A depraved mind is actually the fruit of idolatry.
So I looked it up in the Oxford Dictionary: extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone:
I would add here: something or someone other than God.
I know idolatry comes in many forms. But I heard a definition once that I’ve never forgot: Anything that begins to take you away from God – this is the “thing/person” which could very quickly become an idol.
It could even be a spouse, friend, job or hobby.
Olan goes on to explain that,”Idolatry is the root which causes the fruit of our disobedience to God to grow.” After doing some long hard thinking on the matter it became evident that “yes” I had an idol in my life. The Israelites had idols and perhaps you do too.
“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry,” (1 Corinthians 10:14). “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God,” (Galations 5:19-21). “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry,” (Colossians 3:5).
These are some pretty hard words but the truth is: God is holy, righteous and pure and He loves us enough to discipline us when needed.
I thought Olan Strickland, Reasoning From The Scriptures, outlined some of the negative consequences of a depraved mind very well. The result of idolatry is a depraved mind and the result of a depraved mind is as follows:
“The depraved mind fills itself with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, and evil.
Let’s look at some of these negative and condemning improprieties that all men everywhere are guilty of in some form or fashion:
Unrighteousness – that which is not right
Wickedness – that which is ungodly, evil, or morally bad
Greed – desiring what others have, itching for more, covetous
Evil – ill will, malice, malignity, a desire to injure
Envy – to feel displeasure and ill will over another’s happiness, success, reputation, or possessions. Envy causes hatred toward another because he or she has something that you want or are something that you cannot be – it was for envy that the Jewish leaders delivered over Jesus to Pilate (Matthew 27:18).
Murder – Murder is just one step beyond envy although there are other reasons that men murder besides envy.
Strife – contention or wrangling
Deceit – this word in the Greek means “fish-bait” and came to mean to lure, to ensnare, to beguile, to deceive. When a man lies – about anything – he is deceiving. When a man holds back the truth by not speaking it when he should – he is deceiving.
Malice – a desire to inflict harm or suffering on another
Gossips – secret slanderers, whisperers, tattlers, idle talk about the private affairs of others.
Slanderers – backbiters using false and defamatory statements or reports in order to injure the character and influence of another.
Haters of God – hateful to God
Insolent – boldly rude or disrespectful; despiteful; insults others
Arrogant – proud or haughty; showing oneself above others, with overbearing air of superiority and treating others with contempt
Boastful – the one who speaks with excessive pride especially about himself concerning that which he does not really possess – one may even boast in his humility!
Inventors of evil – always looking for and finding new ways to sin
Disobedient to parents – are you surprised that this is an indication of a depraved mind?
Without understanding – without spiritual or moral understanding; spiritual stupidity
Untrustworthy – covenant breakers; without good faith; promise breakers
Unloving – without natural affection
Unmerciful – without mercy, cruel.
“And although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (1:32).
I had been feeling for sometime in my walk a “distance” from The Lord. Quite frankly, I knew something was wrong but I just didn’t know what. I would pray and pray about it, and as I look back, God was sending people into my life to blatantly expose the sin but I wasn’t willing to listen. I had been deceiving myself for a long time and my stubborn pride refused to acknowledge the truth of what God was saying to me. I didn’t want to believe what I didn’t want to believe. That was folly.
For years I had been “doing”, what I thought, were “all the right things”: serving, attending church, studying my Bible, witnessing, attending lectures, seminars. However, there seemed to be little to no fruit. It felt like everything was broken down. My life was like a desert wasteland with no water in sight…….sound familiar?
Well, I was determined to get back on track. The first thing I had to do was – repent. Then, pray for help and guidance to get back into God’s will. I had to get rid of the things that I had made into idols and get “back to basics”. I stopped “performing” for God and started being “real” with Him. I know I need to do more than just “think” about my sin; I need to “transform” my mind. This will take some time and some serious meditating.
The other thing that has been troubling to me has been my negative spirit. I know that I need to focus on my inner “thought life”. I need to cast off the negative thoughts and “do” what the apostle Paul admonishes in Philippians 4:8,
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
The Lord blesses obedience and he is a great God. The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love (Psalm 103:8).
“Therefore,………… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”