I’ve had other people ask me questions about other topics. Someone asked me about what they should do about a gift they received. Here’s my thoughts about it.
There is quite a bit of testimony in some circles that most certainly objects – especially from pagan cultures – can bring nightmares, sickness, strife, and poverty. In our modern world the same could be said for the things we may worship – like iPhones and Blackberrys.
It’s true we’re not to make any graven image and worship it, and someone might have made an object or symbol to do just that, but does it have any affect on Christians?
We know objects can hold supernatural power – the Ark of the Covenant brought plagues to the Philistines and killed Uzza when he reached out to steady it (1 Chronicles 13:9), hankerchiefs and aprons that Paul had touched were brought the sick and they were healed and delivered (Acts 19:12), Elisha’s staff (2 Kings 4:28-34) was supposed to have power but it didn’t work for his servant.
But while I can find the presence and power of God in objects in the Bible, I can’t think of any example of the enemy doing likewise. That’s not to say it can’t happen, just that it’s not – to my knowledge – attested in Scripture. Please comment below and let me know if I’m wrong.
Isaiah (40:19-20), Jeremiah (14:22), Jonah (2:8) and Paul (1 Corinthians 8:4) all insist that idols are worthless.
Paul goes on to say that it’s the Christian with the weak conscience that won’t eat meat sacrificed to an idol. He also instructs the more mature to not put a stumbling block in a weaker brother or sister’s way.
Notwithstanding all that, I’ve heard story after story of people who get an object – even unknowingly – and bad things start happening. When they get rid of it, things change.
Does that mean we make a rule that save we can’t have any pagan images around us? I think that’s extreme. There is a difference between worshiping an idol and wearing a pair of Nike – which comes from Athena Nike the wise goddess of victory. Pagan symbolism is too rife in our culture, and most of it’s meaning and significance is lost in our ignorance.
However in each of the stories, God reveals to the person what the source is of the problems. When they get rid of the object, the door is closed. The common denominator is that God reveals to the person. God will – He’s in a good mood and wants the best for us. He’s not offended at our ignorance and came to the cross because He wasn’t willing to let the enemy have dominion in this world. So how much more will He reveal the enemies plans to us now? It’s hearing what God thinks about an object that needs to be the rule, not an outright ban on forgotten myths that hold no significance to us in our culture and place in time.
The final thing to consider is if an object offends someone else. The irony is always that the one who is offended will consider themselves to be the more spiritually mature…even when Paul makes it clear that they are the ones with the weak conscience. We can’t promote a an attitude that says, “Objects can’t hold any power” because we see in Scripture they can. Further, we know from Scripture that the enemy mimics the Father masquerading as an angel of light. So if we simply say, “Objects can’t hold power” we may be setting weaker Christians up for seriously bad times.
For a specific item, pray about it and obey what God tells you to do. If someone is offended you’ve decided to keep it, explain what God has revealed to you. If someone is upset you’ve decided to get rid of it, explain why you have peace about cutting it off.
Now one key you should watch for is your ability to give up anything to God. It could be a family heirloom or a piece of art you just spent a great deal of money on. These aren’t easy to give up because of the value you place on them. However, if you CAN’T give them up… it’s a clue there is a supernatural stronghold on them. We can have nothing before God, so ask yourself “If God asked me to give this up, would I?” If the answer is “no”, then giving it up is something you should consider. You can have no other gods before Him.