Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Acts 17:16 NKJV
Paul fled Berea when Jewish opposition stirred up the crowds. Timothy and Silas remained until Paul called for them. While Paul waited in Athens his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.
This verse reminds me of when I traveled to a large city. I shadowed a co-worker so I could cover her position when she went on vacation. As we drove through different districts she described the distinctives of them.
A dreadful feeling of oppression came over me. I felt like evil eyes were watching. I looked around. I was stunned. The evil of unbridled debauchery was in full bloom. The streets were teeming with immorality!
Idols come in many forms. In Athens they were false gods. In the neighborhood I passed through it was immorality. An idol can be anything that takes the space in our hearts reserved for Jesus. We do not have to worship an idol to be consumed by it!
And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.” For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing. Vs 19-21
In Athens Paul preached the Gospel in the synagogue and market place. Epicurean and Stoic philosophers did not understand. Since they spent their time telling and hearing new things they invited him to speak at a prominent place.
The Epicurean philosophers were hedonistic. They valued pleasure. The Stoic philosophers valued virtue and personal ethics. These same philosophies exist today.
The media teases our flesh with the idea we should seek pleasure before relationship and value feelings above truth. People who are overcome by the desires of the flesh discover that doing only what feels good leads to destruction.
Virtue and morality are good qualities when submitted to the Lordship of Christ. When we value them more than relationship with family, friends and neighbors they breed contempt. When we elevate them above Jesus they become idols!
Intellectualism is the false gods of this age. Knowledge can puff us up with pride. Education is not a substitute for wisdom. God imparts wisdom. It is a gift to the faithful. Education is subjective. Wisdom is eternal!
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Live an abundant life today. Do not set your heart on idols that will pass away with this world. Set your heart on Jesus. You can spend eternity with Him!
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