Self Idolatry

We are all familiar with Jesus’ words to the woman caught in adultery when He said, “Sin no more.” Did Jesus truly expect her to never sin again for the balance of her life? Does our God expect us to be without sin in our life? Is this an unattainable standard? Have we set a goal too lofty to achieve? Are we destined to fail? Does God see us as failures? Let’s take a deeper look. Please read more…..

In John 8:11, the woman is clearly admonished during her saving encounter with Jesus not to return to “that sin.” Without doubt He was telling her not to persist in a life of adultery.

Now please allow me to pose a perplexing question: Were Jesus’s words, “sin no more,” also a command to her to live a life of perfection? Was He telling her that she had to live a life from that day forward absent of sin? Would that have been possible for her then and is that possible for you and me now? Is living life without sin feasible? If our focus in life is all about refraining from sin, are we putting our salvation in our own hands, rather than in the merciful embrace of our Savior’s hands? Is Jesus our savior or have we decided to try to save ourselves? Have our actions turned to a form of self-idolatry?

In Luke 18:11-14 we read the account of the Pharisee who so proudly boasted that he was without sin and that he was devout in his religious practices. His story is juxtaposition to the story of the tax collector, who acknowledged his sin and beat his breast and begged God for mercy. The Bible tells us that it was the tax collector not the Pharisee who left justified. We are told that he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Has our pursuit of perfectionism become a form of self-worship? Have we become too religiously and myopically focused on the avoidance of sin while at the same time ignoring the call to do the good works God calls us to do? Are we sharing the news of Jesus Christ with others? Are we feeding the hungry, visiting the imprisoned, clothing the naked and helping the downtrodden? In Matthew 25:31-42 we are given a foretaste of judgement day. The sheep and goats are separated based on what they failed to do. Jesus states this: “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me. And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Have we become so caught up in the words “sin no more” that we have missed the bigger point? This woman had a personal encounter with Jesus and as a result her life was undoubtedly changed. Was she able to remain sinless thereafter? I highly doubt it. Did her future sins impact her differently? I am sure they did. What she took away from this encounter was the knowledge of a merciful and forgiving God. When she fell short again in life, and I assume she did, she once again had to trust in His mercy.

Where do you place your trust? Are you placing your trust in your human strength to overcome and avoid sin? Do you trust in you rather than placing your trust in the redemption that Christ won for you on the cross? We would be wise to never forget the words of Jesus from John 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

Sadly, as Christians, we still stumble and fall. Sin manages to infiltrate our lives. Do we live in fear of a condemning God, or do we rejoice in the expiation of our sins on Calvary?

Do we wallow in self-condemnation every time we sin? Our pride and ego can easily cause us to believe that we can overcome our sinfulness on our own. This distorted thinking also tends to make us more critical when we observe sin in others. Perhaps this is why Jesus taught us to say “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”

Real joy in life comes when we accept that it is our Savior, Jesus Christ alone, who has made salvation possible. We must stop trusting in ourselves and rejoice in the reality that our inconceivable debt load has already been paid by our loving and merciful Lord.

Lastly, we need to do some deep introspection. We must ask ourselves if we have fallen prey to the hypocrisy of thinking that we have already, or will one day, earn our way into Heaven. This simply is not possible. Jesus and Jesus alone is the door to the Father. We live out our lives in the mystery and in our inability to fully comprehend the combined attributes of God’s mercy and justice. But although this remains a mystery, we must remain ever cautious not to trust in our own ability to obtain Heaven. To do so, is nothing short of self-idolatry.

I acknowledge my sinfulness Lord, and I place my trust in you. Lord, have mercy on me a sinner. Amen!

As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.

Brian Pusateri
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  1. Bill on February 7, 2018 at 7:32 am

    Thank You Brian i need to be reminded of this every day especially that it is not me but the Grace of God that is able to help me to overcome my weakness to sin As many times i have fallen His Mercy endures forever in my mind i know this yet it still needs to get to my Heart.

  2. John Knight on February 6, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Thanks so much for writing this, Brian!

    Some sins I fall to frequently I’m only able to truly avoid when I give up doing it on my own and ask for grace From Christ. The times where I do fall are the only times where I try to white-knuckle my way through in an attempted show of will.

    I still haven’t made it into a habit yet, pride still bubbles up I suppose making me think I’m good to tackle everything on my own, but I know Christ gives me grace and mercy each and every time I ask for it. Thank you so much for reminding me to pray for God’s help instead of my own!

    • Brian Pusateri on February 6, 2018 at 8:58 am


      Thank you for sharing from your own personal experience. It is often difficult to get ourselves out of the way so that Jesus can truly be our savior. God bless!


  3. Annamarie Jakubielski on February 6, 2018 at 7:44 am

    Thanks for making this a podcast. You have so much to offer and I often fall short of time or commitment to reading. Your message was clear, as always, and thoughtful. Keep up the good work and may you continue to be blessed.

    • Brian Pusateri on February 6, 2018 at 7:53 am


      Thank you for your very kind words. I am delighted to know that the podcast helps to get the message out. I know how hard it is to find reading time and that is why I started the podcasts. Again, thanks for writing. Have a blessed day!


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