Hi friends! So I’ve been learning about idolatry lately…heavy sounding topic right?! But it’s really quite simple and profound. An idol is taking something that God has given us to enjoy and making it a need. We can make something an object of our love or an object of our lust. There’s a big difference.
Google defines lust as a passionate desire for something. I’d take it a step further and say lust is a passionate desire for something that is not ours. Lust is all about what’s in it for me whereas love is about how can I meet the needs of someone else.
The someone else I’m referring to here is God. I listened to a sermon by Tim Keller a few days ago that brought this point home. He talked about how God sees His relationship with us like marriage and sin He likens to adultery. The book of Hosea is all about this topic. It’s crazy to think that God sees sin like a spouse who’s been cheated on but it’s true. Sin often involves idolatry. Imagine if someone you loved said you weren’t enough for them and so they needed more than just you in the relationship. Well, that’s what God says we are essentially saying to Him when we sin.
This is sobering and exciting all at the same time. Here’s why…if we see sin as just breaking the law, Tim Keller says, we just feel guilty and try not to do it again. This leads to failure and more sin. However, if we see sin as breaking God’s heart (cheating on Him) then it’s a whole different story. To hear God say “You didn’t measure up. You screwed up again. Better luck next time.” vs “My heart is hurting that you didn’t chose me. I wish you could see that I am all you need. I wish you would turn to me and not to ______.” That melts my heart. To think that my sin is keeping me from intimacy with God and hurting Him goes much further towards heart change then just telling myself I screwed up again and I’m a failure.
God is about heart change not behavior change. Heart change produces behavior change, but we often try to change our behavior when our hearts are clueless. So my challenge today is for you to ask God what you have allowed between the two of you. To be transparent here, my discovery about this topic came because I had gotten to the point where I didn’t feel like God was enough. The Bible promises he will supply all my needs but I felt like I wasn’t getting what I needed from him. He promised to satisfy my heart, but my heart was still searching and felt alone. As I was honest with God about this and cried out to Him, seriously, at times saying things like “God, you said that you would be enough for me. That in you I have all I ever need. Why do I still feel so empty? Why do I not feel satisfied? Why do you feel so far away?” I understand that life isn’t all about how you feel but feelings are important and God is more than able to meet my emotional needs and so I desperately wanted to know why he wasn’t satisfying me anymore. You know what He said to my heart? He said that as long as I kept cheating on Him with my areas of idolatry I would not find my satisfaction in Him. The only way to find all I needed in Him was to ONLY look to Him to fulfill me. He was to be my Source. I was allowing my idols to meet most of my needs. Allow me to give practical examples.
If I was bored, I’d read a book. If I was lonely, I’d ask my hubby to watch TV with me. If I needed advice, I’d call a friend. If I was feeling empty or out of sorts, I’d eat a cookie. And then, I’d go to pray and ask God to meet my needs and be my place of satisfaction. Well, at the time several of my needs were already being met by false gods. Is it wrong to read? No! But if I’m reading to escape pain, it becomes an idol. It’s an idol if I look to my husband to make me feel like I’m not alone. God is the only ONE who can satisfy that need for belonging in my heart. Not my man, not friends, not a book. He wants to be the one I run to FIRST. When I laugh, he wants me to laugh with Him. When I cry, He wants to be that shoulder for me. When I’m scared, He wants to be the one I look to for safety. He doesn’t want to be an afterthought. He wants my heart to desire Him above all else. He wants to be our default. But we are sinners. And, unfortunately, our default is to have our needs met elsewhere. Even Eve who had the perfect life in the Garden of Eden with God still looked elsewhere for her satisfaction. How much more opportunity is there for us to do the same in this fallen world?
So, dear friends, what are the idols of your heart? In what areas do you feel like God isn’t meeting a need for you? Where are you telling God, through your actions, that He isn’t enough. There’s more to this topic I hope to share in the near future but for now I leave you with these questions to ponder.
Loved without Limits,