With preparing for however long it will take for us to go to India, I have been learning about the gods and goddesses in the area we plan to be involved in.
For instance, the Hindus pretty much worship the Ganges river by believing they’ll be cleansed by sins each time they bathe in it, as it symbolizes purity (granted it is in the top 5 ranked “most polluted rivers of the world”). They cup their hands with “her” (goddess Ganga’s) water and let it fall back into it and give “her” flowers and light (cups with oil lit). People from around the country “pilgrimage” there to take “her” water to use for rituals. They put the ashes of loved ones into “her” waters which grants them salvation.
How much would it change these people’s lives to know that God, creator of the world sent His son and covered our sins so we can have cleansing? How much more effective could baptism be to these people to know that Christ can cleanse them and they’ll find true salvation in Him after death?
I showed my sons pictures of the idols and the drawings depicting the gods/goddesses in the area we are learning about and told them that people worship them. I showed them dozens of photos and my six year old was shocked. The Hindu people are extremely devoted to their gods there.
Let’s look at the USA. Our gods take on a different form. We do not literally bow to our gods, but there are some who are so taken in by success, that it is their idol. There are some who long for fame, and that is their idol. There are others who spend all day long in front of their Televisions, or at least not being able to miss a day of seeing their favorite show that it is all they can think about doing. There are others who deify an interest they have or a famous person or a sports team. I honestly feel that with the many things within the Smithsonian museum that have been kept that people long to see and adore, those to me are idols, as are statues of famous people who once lived and monuments that people travel from across the country or world to see (seriously, think about it, it is just like the “pilgrims” who travel from afar to see and bathe into the Ganges River in India). Are these not idols that take hold of our lives that we need to give up to Christ? It will be extremely difficult for the Hindu man or woman to give up their daily rituals of worship towards their idols, but Christ can transform us.
There are idols everywhere we go. It is not a joke.
I honestly told my children when showing them the pictures mentioned, “They might look lovely, but they are truly demonic.” While some might think nothing of these images or idols in our own country, they possess the people who do worship them. It is just as how we are possessed by the things that take a hold of our lives.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” -Exodus 20:4-6
What are you holding on to?
A year ago I was heavily convicted by the re-reading of the Ten Commandments. I had a whole cabinet case filled with pretty faeries and unicorns I collected since I was a teenager and other carvings of people and angels. I got rid of them. I didn’t literally worship these things, but for me, I felt there was no reason to have them any longer because I felt it went against this commandment. I don’t think Christians or our culture take it seriously enough and I wanted to. You’ll find no statues of people or animals in our home or crosses even. They are all gone. We don’t normally talk about it to others, but Rob totally understood my heart about it and we have changed a lot in how we lived in the past year or two. People might believe we are “legalistic” but we never tell people they NEED to do this too. We’ll share what God let us know through His word, but it is up to Him to convict one’s heart, not us to change a person’s lifestyle against their will. We are changing so many things that we believe our culture raised us in that we now can’t believe we fell victim to for so long. We’ve found freedom. We are allowing God to raise us all over again while trying to teach our children what we were failed to be taught.