“We all need hope and encouragement. Michael Dixon provides exactly that
in this book that is autobiographical, biblical and practical. I am glad
to commend it to you. Read and be blessed.”
Dr. Daniel L. Akin, President,
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary,
Wake Forest, North Carolina.
“Pastor Michael’s book is personal, practical, and profound because it is biblical
and bathed in the hope-filled power of the Gospel. Read it, follow this well
worn and proven path, and be set free from whatever holds you in bondage.”
Sam R. Williams, Ph.D.
Professor of Counseling
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina
“The book you hold in your hands offers a Biblical road to recovery.
Pastor Michael Dixon shows through the Gospel of Christ, the principles of scripture,
and personal experience how to be free from addictions. Read it,
heed it, and start living life more abundantly."
Dr. Herb Reavis, Jr., Senior Pastor
North Jacksonville Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida
CASTING DOWN IDOLS THROUGH THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL
Copyright © 2015 Michael R Dixon.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means,
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except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
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views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980,
1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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ISBN: 978-1-4908-6543-0 (sc)
ISBN: 978-1-4908-6544-7 (hc)
ISBN: 978-1-4908-6542-3 (e)
Printed in the United States of America.
WestBow Press rev. date: 1/5/2015
preface The Problem with Idols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..... . .ix
chapter 1 From the Needle to the Bible. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . 1
chapter 2 First Things First . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .. . . 11
chapter 3 Facing the Truth: Admitting Your Sin . . . . . . . . 23
chapter 4 Bull’s-Eye Living . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
chapter 5 A Change of Direction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
chapter 6 Addictions: Dead and Buried . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
chapter 7 Arise to Walk In Newness of Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
chapter 8 Living as a Victor—Not a Victim . . . . . . . . .. . . . . 91
chapter 9 Supporting One Another . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Group Study Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Scripture Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
P r e f a c e
THE PROBLEM WITH IDOLS
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
We live in an increasing liberal society with decaying morals and blatant rebellion. What was called wrong a few years ago is now deemed acceptable. Many people now want to believe that truth is relative. Some even profess that there are no absolutes. People smugly state, “What is wrong for you may not be wrong for me.” This is a clear
indication of a civilization that is attempting to candy-coat its sin and excuse its wrongs. The result is a people barreling off course, heading at lightning speed away from God and head on into destruction.
The Psalmist, referring to those who worship idols, wrote in Psalm 16:4 : “Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god.” Idolatry is not only acceptable, it is also encouraged in today’s world. It is interesting that one of the most viewed reality television shows in recent years in the United States has been American Idol. We have become a nation that no longer recognizes the Creator Who deserves and commands our worship. Instead of worshipping God as God, we have constructed our own false gods who offer us a bogus sense of security and well-being. These idols are not restricted to the United States of America. Idols are everywhere. They are also nothing
new. There have been idols as long as there has been sin in the world. Idols have always been a spiritual problem between man and His Creator. We were created to worship God. The Bible declares this to be true. 1 Peter 2:9 : “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the
praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” God declares in Isaiah 43:7 : “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” There is an undeniable internal urge within mankind to worship. People attempt to satisfy that urge with activities, things, or people rather than God Who created them. When this occurs, idols are constructed and erected within the heart. Those idols begin to
control and steer that person’s life and he now becomes an idolater and ultimately even a slave to his false god.
There are many things that can become idols. In ancient days, the Hebrews, who were living under Aaron’s leadership, melted down their precious metals and formed a golden calf that they began to worship. Once Moses came down off the mountain, with the Ten Commandments in hand, he was outraged that God’s people would be guilty of such flagrant idolatry. Moses, in his heated anger, threw down the two stone tablets, breaking them into pieces at the foot of the mountain. He then commanded that the golden calf be crushed into powder and burned. In an attempt to teach the people a lesson, Moses had the powder deposited into their drinking water (Exodus 32). It is astounding that even under the great leadership of Moses and Aaron, God’s people were still pulled toward idolatry. Again, as recorded in 2 Kings 18:4 , God’s people desired to worship the bronze serpent that Moses had built for their deliverance from a plague of snakes (Numbers 21). Time and time again we find recorded on the pages of the Holy Bible, the problem with idols—even among God’s people. Idols have always been a problem. They were not a problem only a thousand years ago, but they remain a real and serious problem today.
We need to understand that God is serious concerning His people worshipping only Him. When the Israelites were about to enter into the Land of Canaan, God commanded them concerning the pagan and idolatrous people they would encounter. God’s command and warning is recorded in Exodus 34:13-14 : “But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is
Jealous, is a jealous God).” Deuteronomy 4:24 declares: “For the LORD your God is a consuming fi re, a jealous God.” The first of the Ten Commandments declares, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). God is a jealous God.
When we begin to worship someone or something other than God, we are giving our allegiance to a false god. False gods cannot bring protection, blessing, or any good thing because they are not God. However, our enemy is a cunning expert at convincing us otherwise.
Every addiction, or spiritual idol in the heart begins with deceptive messages. The Bible clearly identifies our enemy as a liar and the father of liars (John 8:44 ). As the temptation is realized, a person begins to believe that a substance, a drug, or even an activity can bring him happiness. Herein is revealed the deceptive plan that leads a person into the bondage of drug addiction, alcoholism, and even into pornography and gambling addictions. We begin to tell ourselves, “This will make me feel better.” “It isn’t hurting anyone.” “This will help me forget about my problems.” In the end it is realized that none of those promises are fulfilled. Instead of happiness, there is only sadness. Instead of riches, there is abject poverty. Instead of promised peace, there is now only guilt and shame. The painful aftermath of addictive behavior has not only now consumed the addict, but has also spilled over into the lives of everyone nearby. It is usually those that we love the most who bear the brunt of pain as result of these struggles.
It is not only drug addiction that we are talking about here. Addiction to pornography usually begins with the idea that we can control others through images and use them to fulfill our own selfish desires. Too many have discovered that this activity begins to control them, instead of them controlling it. It becomes an idol in the person’s life. It is an idol that demands more and is never fully satisfied. The addiction draws the addict further down into the pit of despair and
An idol controls a person’s thoughts, time, and resources. Isn’t this also true of addictions? The addict begins to discover that an increasing amount of time, money, and resources is being directed toward the worship of his false god. The bondage of addiction seeks to consume all that a person is and ever hopes to be. The end result is a trail of broken lives, destroyed reputations, serious health problems, and even death. Addiction is a serious worship problem.
What should we do with idols according to God? He tells us in Joshua 7:13 : “Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow,’ because thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.’” God is commanding us to get rid of the idols! Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, commands us to run from idols. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:14 : “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” Instead of running toward these idols, we should run away from them! Our hearts are naturally turned away from our God. We so easily find ourselves moving in the wrong direction.
Rebellion comes to the surface through our idolatrous affections. God is, however, very serious concerning this issue. What is the consequence if we do not flee these idols? What will happen if we continue on a rebellious path away from the worship of the one true God? The warning is clear. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ).
Idolatry is evidence of a heart that has not fully surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It could also be evidence of an unregenerate heart. This issue must be dealt with if you want to live the life that God desires for you. You must cast down those idols. This can be accomplished only through the power of the gospel. It is not enough to simply stop ungodly behavior; we must replace it with godliness. We must stop bowing down and worshipping the false gods, whatever form they may take, and begin worshipping only God. This is the purpose for which you were created. It is only in fulfilling your intended purpose that you will find real life. Are you ready to begin?