Are You Praying to the Wrong Person? Part IV: Wrong god

How you have fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! – Isaiah 14:12

[Jesus] replied, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning.” – Luke 10:18

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. – II Corinthians 11:14b-15a

I was visiting a relative who was moving to a new condo, and as she was only partially moved, she slept in the new condo, while I spent the night in the old one. After going to bed, I was struck with an uneasy feeling and instinctively got up and checked the doors to make sure they were locked; they were.

And yet, I still had the distinct feeling I wasn’t alone (Well, I’m a Christian, so I’m never really alone-alone, but other than that …), I looked in the closets; no one there.

Lastly, feeling utterly silly, I looked under the bed and found the “boogie man” – a New Age book said relative had been reading. I knew immediately it was not in my belief system, because on the cover was an elaborate picture of a “goddess” with multiple pairs of arms. Some might call these books harmless fiction or entertainment, but I believe there is a spiritual element to such teachings when taken seriously. I addressed whatever entity was in the room, rebuked it in the name of the real God, tossed the book in the corner, and promptly went to sleep.

The world is full of religions, philosophies, and world views, and with the advent of the internet, ideas can (sometimes) be freely exchanged. With all the available ways to receive input, rather than making it easier to believe in something, the opposite is true. Confusion abounds.

Many religions put a good face on their “gods,” but most of us learned early on that looks can be deceiving.

Whose “truth” is true? Some even claim that everything is true, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that everyone can’t possibly be right.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” (John 14:6) That’s clearly a statement of exclusivity. If Jesus was telling the truth, He is the only truth. If He wasn’t, there could be multiple “truths,” but He would not be one of them, since He just lied about being the only one. – Right?

So, when someone speaks of praying to “whoever you pray to – Mother Earth, Buddha, the Force, your inner child, the divine mother, Jesus, it doesn’t matter … ” don’t go there! It does matter. Especially if they lump Jesus in with the others – do not go there! (I will address the issue of “the wrong Jesus” at a later time.)

So, who are all these other “gods” and “goddesses” who seem so benevolent, so willing to “help” us? To the Christian, they are spiritual imposters. When it comes to power, the true and living God is greater than all of them put together, so the best these false deities can hope for is to deceive people created in God’s image.

Thousands of years ago, when Pharaoh refused to free the children of Israel from slavery, Egypt was struck with one plague after another. Each plague was aimed at humiliating and defeating one of the Egyptians’ “gods.” The LORD began by turning the Nile to blood in defiance of their river god. After seven more plagues darkness covering all of Egypt – except where the Israelites were -in defiance of their sun god Ra. The tenth and final plague, the death of the first-born male struck even the son of Pharah, who himself was considered a “god.”

But Israel’s sons were spared, because they had been warned to put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts – a foreshadowing of the Lamb of God – Jesus – whose blood was shed on a wooden cross for our deliverance from eternal death. You can read about all ten plagues and Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt in the book of Exodus. It’s a great read.

Centuries later, Elijah, the prophet of God, stood alone and confronted 450 prophets of the “god” Baal. They held a contest, where each side offered a sacrifice on an altar to see which “god” would receive the sacrifice with fire.

First the 450 prophets called on Baal to send fire down and burn up the offering on their altar. They cried out, they danced, they slashed themselves with swords and spears and bled profusely, past noon and until time for the evening sacrifice.

Nothing.

Then it was Elijah’s turn. First, he did some preparation. He built an altar with twelve stones (for the twelve tribes of Israel) and placed the wood and the pieces of the bull on it. Then he dug a trench around it and called for large jars of water to be poured over the sacrifice, the wood, and the stones, until it flowed down and filled the trench!

Then Elijah called on his God.

(Once.)

“Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the soil, and licked up all the water in the trench.” (I Kings 18:38)

So much for Baal.

When I pray, I want to pray to that God, don’t you?

While visiting some relatives, my daughter and I spent the night in the bedroom of their daughter who was no longer living at home. The knickknacks in her room were souvenirs of her trip to India, a country she dearly loved.

I woke up in the middle of the night, again with that feeling of being watched. I pulled aside the curtain of the window, and there, a foot from my face, was a sticker, a picture of some “god,” I suppose. It had the body of a man and the head of an elephant and seemed to be staring right at me.

I whispered, “My God’s bigger than you,” rolled over, and went back to sleep.

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. – I John 5:21

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the way – the only way – and I thank You for being on my side, in spite of my sin, weakness, and failures. – Where would I be without You? Today, as always, I will trust You, and You alone. Amen.

29 thoughts on “Are You Praying to the Wrong Person? Part IV: Wrong god

  1. C. A., I searched the Scriptures trying to reconcile the passages that described idols as powerless wood and stone with those equating them with demons. What I concluded is that whether that thing has any power or influence is determined by the heart. If we worship such things, they have power over us. My relative was seriously into New Age beliefs, and I would occasionally feel the presence of something spiritual present in her house, as I did with that book. But knowing my God is greater than anyone or anything in the universe, I know I don’t have to fear. Responding with Scripture, as Jesus did when tempted in the wilderness, is the way I deal with these things when they come up.

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  2. I don’t think idols are equated with demons (as in they are one and the same if I understand your meaning). But they were representative of demonic entities. One example is the image of the beast in Revelation which itself is not the beast but represents it. The spiritual entity behind both the beast and its image is real. Another example is the indirect reference Jesus makes to the throne of Satan in Pergamum. As it happens, there was a temple to Zeus there at the time. So if that is what He was saying, then there is a direct association of the false god Zeus to the real spiritual entity Satan.

    I think its the same idea with gods and idol worship in the ancient world which was replete with paganism until Jesus came on the scene. He encountered real spiritual entities that had supernatural power over people, likely the result of the pervasiveness of paganism which manifested as idol worship, which opened demonic doors that people could not close.

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    1. “Equated with” was possibly a poor choice of words. Scriptures saying people who worship idols are worshiping demons may seem on the surface to equate them, but the idolatry happens in the heart. If people worship demons, they often use an object as a focal point, but if the demon worship isn’t there, it’s just a stone or block of wood. If we’re focused on Jesus, we don’t need to fear those objects at all. (We don’t, in fact, even have to fear the demons. “Greater is He that is in us …” 😉 )

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      1. I’m glad you addressed the topic. While Christian’s should not focus on the demonic, we unfortunately need to go back and reacquaint ourselves with how the fallen realm works. It’s an area of equipping the church avoids but which we have a lot of Intel about in the gospels. With the return of paganism will be a resurgence of demonic activity.

        I just completed a series in my own blog about the Gadarene incident and what we can learn from it.

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  3. Good stuff, Ann. Idols can certainly be a gateway for demons; people just don’t realize it until it’s too late–not necessarily in terms of their eternal destiny, but in terms of demons being able to gain a foothold.

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  4. I agree with you Ann, there is a spiritual element to those sort of teachings and beliefs. They are not to be trifled with. Our God is indeed greater. I like how you deal with it when you find yourself in that situation.

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  5. Good word Ann. Whenever someone asks me to “cleanse” their house because they believe there to be a demon dwelling there, the first thing I do is look for those items that may be an invitation. Books and artwork are often the biggest culprits. Christians need to be much more discerning in what they allow into their lives. But also, like you, rebuke and move on. In Jesus we have that and can rest easy that our rebukes are heard. Fear is his only real power and if we allow ourselves to fear, the enemy can wreak havoc on our souls. But in Jesus is perfect peace. ❤️

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    1. Thanks, Jimmy. I once had a dream where I had to walk through a room full of dark, evil people, who were getting drunk, fighting, cursing, and threatening violence. But as I walked through them, I was in a sort of bright tunnel, and they couldn’t touch me. They were like shadows that disappeared the moment they got into the Light.

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  6. This is a huge discussion Ann. The unseen spiritual realm is active everywhere but mostly undetected by most I am finding. Our household has lots of stories and experiences and find that many “church people” just don’t believe them.

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  7. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). I wonder if anyone who embraces New Age philosophies (or any false religion or cult for that matter) ever ask themselves, “How do I know whether this is true or not? What reliable proof has been offered?” Any honest seeker WILL be led to God (Acts 17:27) and his truth (Proverbs 14:18), for which the proof is overwhelming!

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  8. Truth is always truth and it remains true for centuries. Those who see the Light in the Truth, they can never deny accepting Christ as their Lord and Saviour, no matter what their background may be. Jesus Says, I AM The WAY, I AM The TRUTH and I AM The LIFE.

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  9. Ann, tomorrow I’m planning to write a post about a survey that I came across comparing Americans and Western Europeans in terms of religious observance and belief in God. I’d like to link to your series here if that’s all right.

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