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Black Friday

Were you in line on Thursday night for the Black Friday sales? I hope you got a deal. And I hope you weren’t pepper sprayed. Or shot. Or trampled.

There are few who like a steal of a deal more than I do. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with hitting the holiday sales. But the news this weekend about the brutality of Black Friday shopping reminded one more of The Lord of the Flies than the Christmas spirit.

Why do people shred a box of video games “like it contained the cure for cancer,” as one fellow said on the news? Why would a woman pepper spray people so she could save a few dollars on an Xbox game system? The answer is an age old sin that we rarely consider these days: idolatry.

Paul writes to the Colossians: “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world (Colossians 3:5, NLT).”

Idolatry is one of those sins that we think existed either long ago in the Old Testament, or in Athens when Paul visited there. Today you’ll find it in places like India where Vishnu and Hanuman shrines dot the landscape. But like all the other sins that Paul lists—sexual immorality, lust—idolatry is a constant challenge to man. It might find different expressions, but it’s a way to worship the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25).

It’s one thing to miss a little sleep for a bargain, but it’s something else to push, claw and attack. Satan is blinding us with the material, the worldly, so we can’t see the One who matters.

Ignoring God for gifts and trinkets isn’t taken lightly. Paul continues to warn the Colossians: “Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming (3:6).” How sad it would be to trade a relationship with God for an Xbox, a flat screen television or a new outfit.