IDOLS OF THE HEART
Dr. D. K. Olukoya
Ezekiel 14:1-4:“There came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their tale: Should I be enquired of it all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of Israel that set up his idols in his heart, and pulleth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols.” Ezekiel 14:9-10: “And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing. I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hands upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity; the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him.”
The elders of Israel came to the man of God to enquire of the Lord. You would have thought that somebody who needed to go and see a prophet would mean well by doing so, but they went there with idols in their hearts, and because they had idols in their hearts, the Lord said the reply they would get would be according to the idols that were already in their hearts. That is, if anyone has an idol inside his heart, and he goes to a prophet for information, God would ask that prophet to answer him according to the idol in his heart and the person ends up getting the wrong information.
Many people have secret idols hidden in the chambers of their hearts from the sight of men but not God. And these idols decide sometimes what they get from God, Hebrews 4:13: Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” So, as far as God is concerned, all the things that many people try to hide are open before Him. But the problem is that the Christian idols are harder to recognize than the others.
When I was in junior school, I was taught a song that says, “Break down every idol in your heart.” I could not understand it because I thought it was not possible since I was a Christian and we did not worship idols in our house. My idea of an idol was the carved head of Ogun or any other graven image. But as I got matured, I began to understand what the Lord means by breaking down the idols in our hearts. The Bible says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). When the heart is filled up, it would pour out through the mouth. Those talkative most of the time speak from their hearts and not from their brains. That which a person has in his heart will eventually come out. Sometime ago, I was counseling a couple. The wife said something and the man got angry and said that the God of iron should break the head of her father. I said, “But you are a Christian, why are you talking like that?” He said he was sorry. The truth is that that was how his heart was working. You may try to hide but a time is coming when you will be exposed. The Bible says that everything is naked before God. All fornicators and adulterers are naked before God like a television set.
There was a man who refused to give his life to Christ even though he was the son of a catechist. One day, as he was sitting down, somebody tapped him on the shoulder and said, “You have an appointment?” He said, “Appointment?” Before he could understand what was happening, the person pulled his spirit out of his body as one would pull off clothes from another person. Behold, it was an angel of the living God. “Where are we going?” he asked the angel. The angel said, “Be patient, you will know very soon.” Eventually, he landed before the throne of God and could not behold the glory. God called him by his name and told him that he was 25 years behind schedule of what He wanted him to do for Him. God said to him, “Before I start on you, let us look at a review of your life.” And all of a sudden, there was something like a television set and the brother was watching his life right from the moment his mother gave birth to him. He saw all the funny love letters he had written, all the fornication he had committed, all the abortions he sponsored and encouraged, etc. Everything was so clear. After he had watched to a point, he begged God to turn it off for he could not stand it any longer. That experience changed the man’s life.
Any person or thing that can replace God in your heart has become an idol. Anything you place before God or side by side with Him has become an idol. The moment the affection you are giving to God is given to any other thing or person, that substitute becomes an idol. A lot of Christians have secret idols in their hearts and these idols put them in trouble. At this juncture, I would like you to close your eyes, lay your hand on your chest and pray like this: “O Lord, show me the idols in my heart, in the name of Jesus.”
When some people come to see a man of God. They forget that it is not every time that God has a message for them. They would want to force the man of God to see a vision for them. Sometimes when you pray with such people and tell them that God says everything is fine, they can go, they will not believe because they have idols in their hearts.
Sometime ago, a man and a woman came to see me. The woman requested me to help the man., that his enemies were destroying him. As I started praying it was as if my prayers were bouncing back to me. I stopped and asked the woman to go out. After she left, I asked the man who she was, and he said she was just somebody who was concerned about his situation I asked if that was all and he said yes. I asked him to go too. Later, they came back and the man said “Please, sir, forgive me I can see that it is not good to tell lies to a man of God. That woman is supposed to be my fourth wife. I am just planning to marry her.” This confirms what the bible says, that the Lord will answer them according to the idols in their hearts.
A lot of singles have already made up their minds concerning the type of people they would like to marry before praying to God to show them who to marry. As a result, they find it difficult to accept God’s will for their lives. God eventually gives them the idols they want. Pray this prayer point: “O Lord, deliver me from secret idols, in the name of Jesus.”
If you are a good Bible reader, you will find that there is a man whom the bible does not talk well about. His name is Jeroboam the son of Nebat. The Bible describes anybody that committed a serious offence in the Bible as Jeroboam the son of Nebat. He was a yardstick. What was his offence? He set up an idol in Dan and another one in Bethel and called the people of Israel together and said, “You house of Israel, behold the god that delivered thee from the land of Egypt.” Before Jeroboam started putting the physical idols on ground, the idols started in his heart. Along the line, something happened. Jeroboam’s son became sick and because Jeroboam was far away from God he did not know that the prophet of God in Israel was already blind. He told his wife to take the child to the prophet and find out from him whether the son would die or live. He also asked her to disguise herself so that the prophet would not recognize her. As the wife of Jeroboam, who had dressed like a man got to the door of the prophet who was blind and knocked, behold a voice sounded from inside saying, “Come thou in you wife of Jeroboam, why frameth thyself to be another?” (Why are you pretending to be another person?) Before she could open the door, the prophet went further to tell her why she had come.
Many people who come to church find it difficult to function in any group because none of the groups is ready to admit them because they still paint their faces. Such people keep running around just because of an idol. If the Lord tells you to serve Him in an area with a condition attached to it and you do not want to abide by the condition, it means that you have another god.
Those who find it difficult to put away their false finger nails, attachments and make-ups need deliverance because those things have become idols in their lives. Beloved, think about these things seriously.
When God gave Saul an instruction, he carried it out in his own way and God told him, “Behold, obedience is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of ram.” God also told him that stubbornness is an iniquity as idolatry and rebellion is as witchcraft (Samuel 15:22-23). So, a witch and a rebellious person are twin brothers in hell fire. A stubborn person and an idol worshipper are the same thing before God.
Nowadays, we have a lot of modern-day idols that people worship. They include the following:
- Money: A lot of people now just keep running after money all the time. They do not understand any other language except money. When you tell them to get serious with the Lord, they would say, “I will become very serious with the Lord when I make my first million.” When you ask them to come to night vigils, they will tell you that they must do over-time to make ends meet. They do not know that the only person that can make ends meet is the Lord Jesus. I know a man who had a simple boil on his neck that cost him more than half of his salary to treat. So, at the end of the day, it is only God that can make ends meet. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all other things shall be added unto you,” The Bible says. But when you start seeking all other things before the kingdom, you have an idol in your heart. The Bible says, “I have been young but now I am old, I have not seen the righteous being forsaken or his children begging bread.” There is no man who sought the kingdom of God and got it that ever remained poor. What is the use of gathering money and at the end of the day, you go to hell fire? What is the use of gathering money and at the end of the day, some people are just waiting for you to die so that they can fight and kill themselves over the money they did not make?
- The world: There are so many fellowships now where all they talk about is financial prosperity. According to them, if you are a herbalist, a thief, or a fornicator, God will prosper you. They say, “Come whoever you are and donate money.”
- Fame: A lot of people are looking for popularity. They just want to be known. Without knowing that if the whole world knows you and God does not know you, you are wasting your time.
- Pleasure: People just want to relax and enjoy themselves.
- Knowledge: Some people have turned their certificates to their god. God hates idolatry with perfect hatred. Once you give what is due to God to an object, special demons move in and turn that thing into something powerful. The internal idols will then invite wicked spirits from outside. Until these internal idols are destroyed, you cannot make a headway as a Christian.
Let us look at the secret idols that many Christians are going about with. You will do yourself a lot of good to look deeply into your spirit because these may be the things that the enemy is using to harass you and you think it is witches or wizards that are harassing you.
- Unforgiveness. This is common amongst Christians. Many Christians harbour malice in their hearts concerning others. If you are living in a house and you cannot get on with the people there, not because of your faith but because they are abusing you, or they ask you to sweep or keep your things somewhere, then you have an idol. You may try to prove that you are right but you have an idol, which you must pull down. Unforgivenness in the heart is an idol. Some people cannot forgive their pastors, group leaders, university lecturers, etc. Don’t forget that anytime you come to God with an idol in your heart, the first thing that the enemy would say is, “O God, hold on, look at this.” And the unforgiving idol will say, “I am here, sir.”
Sometime ago, a woman came to me for prayers. She complained that things were rough and her business was grounded. As I was praying, the Lord said, “Son, there is somebody this woman does not want to forgive.” I opened my eyes and said, “Madam there is somebody you do not want to forgive. God says you should first of all forgive that person before any other thing.” She looked at me and said it was her husband. I asked her to forgive him. She said no, that the man had hurt her badly. She said when they were poor and struggling, the man did not abandon her. But when they became rich, the man went and took a girl, the age of their last daughter, as second wife and abandoned her. So she would not forgive him. I told her that the Bible says she must forgive him no matter what he had done. She went away in anger because I refused to pray for her. But the next day, she came back and said she was ready to forgive him. After she repented and forgave the man and we prayed, all the miracles that she had been asking for, for five years came within a week. And things have been going on well for her since then.
- Hatred. Unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy and envy give birth to hatred. There is no how these three things will be in the life of a person and the person will not have hatred inside. And any believer that has hatred against anybody and does not repent will go to hell fire.
- Discouragement. Many people get easily discouraged. They lose hope when their prayers are not answered quickly or when they are disappointed. In a vision, a sister saw the shop of the devil. In that shop, she saw hypertension, diabetes, bad luck and all sorts of things with their price tags. She asked the devil, “Mr. Devil, what is the most expensive item in your store?” The devil told her it was discouragement. He told her that once he was able to get believers discouraged, he captured them. She asked him, “When does discouragement come to a person?” He explained to her that discouragements sets in after depression; and both of them give birth to hopelessness. Sometimes when somebody is heading towards a miracle and the devil wants to hinder the person, he uses discouragement.
- Worry. The reason some people are looking older than their age is because of worry. They worried over any little thing.
- Confusion. Confusion gives birth to fear. This is present in many lives and is an idol. It must be cast out today.
- Impatience. Impatience is the opposite of patience. Patient is a virtue. The patient person always laughs last. But the impatient person will spoil the blessing that God has for him. The perfect wife or husband is the one who agrees that he or she is not married to a perfect partner.
- Evil thoughts. These give birth to evil imaginations. Many Christians commit sins in their hearts. No serious Christian will bow down to physically carved idols but they worship the idols inside their hearts. You see believers watching films, which they are not supposed to watch. This is because of the idol in their hearts.
- Doubt. Many believers are clever doubters like Thomas. Thomas said, “Well I am a honest doubter. I am not asking for too much. All I am saying is, let Jesus come and show me His hand because I saw Him when He died on the cross and I was there when He was buried. Now you say He has resurrected. I will also like to touch the holes in His hands and feet because the holes cannot heal within three days.” So, when Jesus got there, He said, “Thomas it is because you have seen me that is why you believe. But blessed are those who have not seen me and yet they believe.” That simple word he told Thomas changed the life of Thomas. He died preaching the gospel. Doubt is an idol and the Bible says a doubting man is like the wave of the sea. Such a person does not believe that he can receive anything from the Lord. Some people have high level of doubt. Such people even ask if there is God at all. Some people doubt so much that they do not even believe that witches exist.
- Indecision. This is another idol, which has destroyed so many people.
- Pride. Pride leads to self-exaltation and unteachable spirit.
All these secret idols must be chased out by the Lion of Judah. The problem of the idol is that it hinders the move of God. God is saying, “Clear away the idols. Cast them into the fire. Then you can see what I can do.” There was a medical doctor who died. When he died, his wife prayed that he must come alive again. She prayed for hours. Eventually the man came back to life and narrated what he saw when he died. He saw himself arriving somewhere. In that place, somebody held him by the right hand, another person held him by the left hand and they were dragging him away. He first of all thought that they were dragging him to heaven but as they dragged him along, he felt heat on his face. He remembered the Bible and thought: “If this place is heaven the breeze will not be uncomfortable.” Then he began to appeal to them to leave him alone. He said he was born again, and that they should not drag him to hell fire. They did not listen. Then they dragged him to the edge of hell fire. He said people were being dumped into hell fire like tipper lorry tips sand down. He was amazed and suddenly as they were about to throw him inside, a voice sounded from above, “Release him.” And they left him. Immediately they released him the devil came out and said, “O God, You have no right to take this man to heaven, because he is free from all sins apart from one, and that is idolatry of the heart.” Just one, but many of us are committing serious sins daily. God said, “Okay, agreed” (The devil does not tell lies against anybody. If the devil is reporting you to God, he tells God the truth. But you cannot tell God a lie anyway). God said. “Devil, you are right. I am not taking this man to heaven, because he is not qualified as you have said, but at the same time, I will not allow him to go to hell fire now because of his wife.” The importunate prayers of his wife compelled God to send him back to life. Although that man was a Sunday School Teacher and he taught the Bible very well, there was an idol hidden in him.
On the last day, if an idol is still in a person apart from the idol hindering his blessing, the person cannot go to heaven. Our greatest prayer should be: “O Lord, break down every idol in our hearts, in the name of Jesus.”
If you have not given your life to Jesus, and you try to remove any idol from your heart, the idol will resist you because you belong to the same camp. So, to be able to break the idols in your heart, you must give your life to Christ.
1. O Lord, break down every idol in my heart, in the name of Jesus.
2. I cast out every idol from my heart, in the name of Jesus.
3. I break down every hidden idol, in the name of Jesus.
4. Let the fire of God boil all rivers harboring my enemies, in the name of Jesus.
5. Let the blood of Jesus wipe off all my evil dreams, in the name of Jesus.
6. I destroy every satanic accident organized for my sake, in the name of Jesus.
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