Food Offered to Idols: A Contemporary Issue

Reposted from Rooted Thinking. This post originally appeared at GFA’s blog Commissioned, where you can find more missions-related content.

Billions of people in today’s world worship idols, angels, spirits of the dead/ancestors, and other spiritual powers.1 People have been worshiping demons and idols since the Fall. God’s people ever since have had to learn how to honor the One True and Living God in a pagan world.

Many believers in Christ today share a dilemma quite similar to that of Corinth in New Testament times. They are confused about how to live out their faith in relation to the pagan community around them. What are they to do about eating food offered to idols? How they answer this question will prove vital to their faith.

A Serious Matter

This issue is more important than many who are from a Christian-influenced, secularized, or monotheistic religious background readily understand.2 Cultures dedicated to this kind of pagan worship are dominated by public religious festivals and regular rituals. Community and family life revolve around these observances. Involvement in all this is the major expression of community, ethnic pride, unity, and even patriotism.

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Am I Worshiping Myself During My Devotions? Narcissism & Spiritual Dryness

By M.R. Conrad. Reposted from Rooted Thinking.

“I need some me time,” says everyone these days—parents, employees, even Olympic athletes. In the current vernacular, time with God could also be viewed as spiritual me time. Without even realizing it, we can begin to substitute personal wellness for closeness to God—but they aren’t the same thing. If we make that switch, we will experience the spiritual dryness brought on by narcissism.

Recognizing Our Inner Narcissist

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a narcissist as “an extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance.” Virtually no one who reads that definition will consider himself to be a narcissist. When we think of a narcissist, most people immediately picture someone else—an Instagram influencer, a pop star, a professional athlete, or a certain former president.

No one imagines themselves to be a narcissist, but we have all been groomed for this role. From birth, we naturally put ourselves first. Modern society, education, and parenting encourages and amplifies this self-worship. Instead of curbing our self-absorption, we cultivate it. Furthermore, this perspective is so ingrained in us and affirmed by our peers that we often cannot see it in ourselves.

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From the Archives – FEARING God or Fearing GOD?

The Scriptures constantly remind us to fear God (Leviticus 25:17, for example), and we find out that such a fear is the “beginning of knowledge” (ESV, Proverbs 1:7), while the fear of man “lays a snare” (Proverbs 29:25).

Many who choose to honor God struggle over what it means to “fear” God. Should we be afraid of him? Or does it mean we reverence him? Or some of both? Even believers in Jesus need to fear God in the sense that we fear his wrath, discipline, and displeasing him. We remember, as the writer to Hebrews reminds us, that our God is a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). Yet we can call God “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15), a term of endearment.

A Jewish perspective on fearing God is summarized in the Jewish Encyclopedia:

Who fears God will refrain from doing the things that would be displeasing to Him, the things that would make himself unworthy of God’s regard. Fear of God does not make men shrink from Him as one would from a tyrant or a wild beast; it draws them nearer to Him and fills them with reverential awe. That fear which is merely self-regarding is unworthy of a child of God.

What many of us fail to realize, however, is the Biblical assumption that we all fear someone or something. Thus, in my opinion, the emphasis should not be upon FEARING God, but fearing GOD.

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