Worshiping Idols?

Q. Recently (a well known Pastor) was giving an illustration about healing, faith and interference from Satan. He said there was a certain woman who had long prayed for healing without results, and now was asking the pastor for help. Upon visiting this woman at her home, the pastor noticed she had an extensive collection of dragon statues that she had collected during her world travels. He told her that these dragon statues were representative of “that old serpent” and not only invited Satan but gave him a “legal right” to be in her home, and that this was preventing healing from taking place.

The woman said the statues were very expensive and she collected them because she liked dragons (I’m assuming their physical appearance; the pastor didn’t specify.).

After convincing the woman to let him destroy and throw away the statues, the pastor said they prayed for healing, and immediately the woman was made whole. The pastor’s statements about the statues (and he included any other pagan idol or image that might be in a believer’s home) giving Satan a legal right to operate in that home surprised me.

Is this Biblical? How can Satan show any power through a pagan idol, image, or even a dragon statue unless a person believed in that sort of thing? And, if a believer has a dragon statue (or any similar object) in their home, can the physical statue give Satan a legal claim to operate there, even if the believer assigns nothing more to the statue than being a piece of artwork, or a decoration?

A. In 1 Cor. 8:4 and 10:19 Paul wrote that idols are nothing. It’s the demons behind them that are the problem. Unless a person is actually worshiping an idol, and therefore the demon behind it, the idol is powerless. This would apply to statues, figurines, and the like as well. Simply having a statue in your house cannot give a demon the legal right to dwell there.

That said, it surprises me that a discerning Christian, knowing the symbolism involved, would consciously set about to acquire an expensive collection of dragon statues. You don’t have to bow down before and offer prayers to an object to worship it. Desiring, admiring, and feeling pride in owning such a collection can be a form of worship if it’s extreme enough. In fact, anything we desire more than to be standing in the presence of God is an object of worship. (Those of you who don’t want the rapture to come until you’ve experienced more of this life should think about that.)

If this is an actual account and not just a story told for the purpose of illustration, there must have been more going on here than just an innocent collection of statues. After all the woman was healed upon destroying them.

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