“And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”
Identifying the signs of decay is not hard when you notice how quickly Israel left God to worship a golden calf. It is just a few chapters earlier when Israel was delivered from Egypt and walked through the middle of the parted Red Sea to escape Pharaoh’s army. Yet, in the verse above, they completely left God to worship a golden calf made by human hands.
What is it that causes a person to go from being passionate for the LORD to becoming a person who is out of church and living in the world? What are the signs of spiritual decay? The story of Israel worshipping the golden calf reveals several signs of spiritual decay that must be avoided if we don’t want to end up in the same situation where they found themselves.
First, a man-focused Christianity always leads to spiritual decay. Israel said in verse 1, “…as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” It wasn’t Moses who led them out of Egypt; it was God. Decay has set into the spiritual heart of a Christian anytime they focus on man to determine their spirituality. Man is not to be our focus. If you keep your focus on Christ, growth will be the result instead of decay.
Second, materialism always leads to spiritual decay. It is interesting that Israel focused on their gold throughout these verses instead of their walk with the LORD. Decay has set into your spiritual life when the amount and value of your material things determine your spirituality. A church is not spiritual because of its fancy buildings, and neither is a person spiritual because they are financially solvent. Spiritual decay is the result when the focus is on how much you have instead of how close you are to God.
Third, pleasure-focused always leads to spiritual decay. Israel was focused on eating, drinking and playing instead of working for the LORD. Let me remind you that the LORD’s work is not always going to be easy. Spiritual decay has set into your life if your determination of what you will do for the LORD is determined by how fun or exciting it is. God’s will and faith should always be the determining factor of whether you should do something; anything else is a sign of spiritual decay.
Fourth, lack of shame always leads to spiritual decay. Israel had no shame when they danced around the calf naked. When a person is not shamed by displaying their nakedness, spiritual decay has rotted their Christian values. My friend, how we dress does matter. You should always dress in a Christ-honoring way. You should never dress to bring attention to your body, but you should dress in such a manner that honors Christ.
Fifth, apathy towards truth is a sign of spiritual decay. It didn’t bother Israel that they said the gods led them out of Egypt. Spiritual decay has set into your life when lies are accepted as truth, and when the truth no longer matters. Truth should always be embraced; anything else should be rejected.
Has your life begun to spiritually decay? Let these five things be warning lights to your spiritual life. If you ever see them, you know you need to stop the decay that has begun to spiritually destroy you.