In Exodus 20:25 we read: 'And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.'

And In Exodus 20:4 we read: 'You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.'

In the first reading above, the Israelites are reminded not to use any human tool on stone used to build an altar, for that would defile the entire altar and everything offered thereon, making it unacceptable to God. In the KJV we have the correct translation 'hewn'. Now let us turn our attention to our second reading above. The word 'idol' in this verse is the word 'Pesel' which comes from the original 'Pasal' which means 'that which is hewn'. Interesting! The word for 'idol' in this verse simply refers to 'that which is made by human hands.' Many Christians have the idea that an 'idol' is defined as an 'idol' when you put your trust in it rather that in God. In this way money or a person can become an 'idol'. However, the verse above gives us a different perspective. An 'idol' is defined in terms of it being something that is 'hewn' by human hands. What makes something an 'idol,' an abomination to the living God, is the fact that it carries the marks of human endeavour. Let's stop and think about this. So much of (religious) Christianity today is shot through with these marks of human endeavour. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a Christian church today which is not defined in terms of a plethora of programs, human-engineered worship and 'borrowed-from-the-world' management techniques. This calls to mind the words of Paul in Acts 17:25: "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things."

Beloved friends, only that which is done by the living Christ in and through you can ever be acceptable to almighty God. Everything else is defiled and an abomination to Him. Is your Christianity an 'idol' - shot through with human endeavour and effort? Let us humbly submit and ask Him to come and make His home in us so that His life will start overflowing from us. Christianity is Christ in you overflowing from you. O father forgive us. Amen