Have you ever asked yourself how did I end up here? How did I go from feeling hopeful, alive and excited about the trajectory of my life to dry, barren and just going through the motions? How did I go from feeling so close to God to feeling so far from God?
The answer is probably idolatry. I know it sounds like I’m rushing to conclusions. We haven’t even checked your vital signs or asked any probing questions and I’m giving a diagnosis. But it’s not that I’m jumping to conclusions. Iit’s that we’re prone to jump to conclusions. We’re prone to look for other gods.
Our human condition can be so desperate for significance, identity, success and a sense of control that we constantly grasp at things to meet that need. In Mere Christianity, C.S.Lewis writes, “Your real new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.” How often do we find ourselves looking for ourselves apart from Him? The moment He shows us a glimpse of ourselves in Him, we’re so eager to be something, that we grab the emerging self we know so little about and try to make it our own. This is a form of idolatry. In Exodus 20:3 God declares to His newly delivered people, “You shall have no other gods before me.” I don’t believe it was any coincidence that the Ten Commandments, God’s moral code for His people, begins with having no other gods before Him. He knew after 400 years of immersion in a polytheistic culture, they would be prone to seeking other gods or simply put idolatry. But we shouldn’t rush to conclude we aren’t prone to the very same thing today.
For most of us God just isn’t enough. We, like the newly delivered Israelites, are inclined to want God and… And it’s this “God and” tendency that made me jump to my idolatry conclusion concerning our ever vacillating sense of well-being. An idol is anything that becomes more significant than God in giving our lives meaning, identity and happiness. And we are prone, like the Egyptians who held the Israelites in captivity, to have many. We make our kids, careers, marriages, degrees, cars, houses, girlfriends, boyfriends, churches, friends and almost any other thing we can get our hands on gods.
Whenever we take a good thing and make it the supreme thing, we just made an idol. And idols always disappoint. So back to my diagnosis…Have you ever asked yourself how did I end up here? How did I go from feeling hopeful, alive and excited about the trajectory of my life, to dry, barren and just going through the motions? How did I go from feeling so close to God to feeling so far from God? We likely put something in God’s place. We likely want “God and”. The way to be restored to the joy, closeness, hope, security and well-being we all desperately desire, is to return to our only love. Jesus has to be enough. Our trust in, hope in and clinging to Him alone, has to be enough. This doesn’t mean we can’t love our careers, families or the idea of getting or being married. It just means we must love God more. We can’t take a good thing and make it the supreme thing. We can have no other gods before Him.
perfect God. perfecting people.