I don't use big words often but as I have been thinking a big word has come to my mind- syncretism. Syncretism is the attempt to reconcile contrary beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought...
"Aaron took the gold rings from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf and said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.' Now when he saw this, he built an altar BEFORE IT; and made a proclamation saying, 'Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.' So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play..." Exodus 32:4-6
In the midst of their questioning...wondering....fearing why Moses wasn't coming back. They sat down to eat a feast to the LORD and rose up to play the harlot in celebration with the calf god....trying to reconcile contrary opposite beliefs. It doesn't work but we try to make it work all the time...in small seemingly insignificant ways. How many "other gods" do we fashion? Good things, moral things....things we end up worshipping, just a little as we wait for the Lord Jesus to return? The questioning...the wondering....the fearing sets in and this is ripe ground for any and every kind of idolatry. Theological idolatry, pleasure idolatry, relationship idolatry, personal idolatry...you name it.
Paul wrote, "Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. THEREFORE, my beloved, flee from idolatry." 1 Corinthians 10:11-14
As I look over my life and the Church culture of today, I am very sobered. ANYONE can fall into this trap...anyone, including you and me. Paul uses the golden calf example and several others for a reason. Syncretism, the blending all kinds of beliefs and things together to try to make our faith work is idolatry. My sister, several things really hit me.
1. We need to be aware of the temptation towards this! Please read the text above...the minute we think it could never happen to us, we are RIPE to fall right into it!
2. We need to remember that God is faithful. This truth is NOT supposed to bind us in fear but draw us in faith to the One who holds us in His Hand not only this but also, draw us in faith towards His divine system, the Body of Christ. We NEED each other...we ALL have blind spots and we ALL are at risk of falling into idolatry at any time, it is common. My sister, are you walking with other believers? Are you seeing your need of the Body but also the Body's need of you?
3. FLEE from idolatry. Are we, am I...looking, aware, actively considering anything (even good things) that shift my worship, devotion, and love to anything other than Christ? Quite honestly, not as much as I need too. Instead it seems I can tend to try to meld the worship/love together and add Christ to the mix...that is called syncretism and that is a problem. Beloved, flee from idolatry.
Praise the name of Jesus, He has run this race before us perfectly and He has finished...may we keep fixing our eyes on HIM and Him alone! Amen.