When Good Becomes Ultimate
Thursday - May 27th
Scripture to Read Today: Ezekiel 14:1-8
I, the LORD, will answer all those...
who reject me and set up idols
in their hearts and so fall into sin.
In his book Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters, Pastor Timothy Keller addresses the dangers of modern idols. We may not bow down to an image of wood or stone. Still, we are far too often just as guilty today of idol worship as God's people were during their times of waywardness in the Scriptures. Many of the gods we wrestle with find their root in greed, lust, and power. But not all of the gods we create in our hearts are obviously evil.
We build idols in our hearts when we allow someone or something to be the center of our lives rather than the Lord. Keller says it this way, "The human heart is an idol factory that takes good things like a successful career, love, material possessions, even family, and turns them into ultimate things. Our hearts deify them as the center of our lives, because, we think, they can give us significance, security, safety, and fulfillment - if we attain them."
When a good thing in our lives becomes the ultimate thing in our lives, we have an idol. We have something that gets our attention, dedication, love, and focus other than the Lord. No matter what our idols are, they constantly distract us from our relationship with God. Sometimes we even try to be devoted to both God and an idol we have crafted in our hearts. In James 1:8, we are reminded that a double-minded person is unstable in all of what they do. We cannot synchronize the biblical God revealed in Scripture with something or someone else. He is God. There is no other.
Often during times of stress, when we feel like God has forgotten us, we turn to the other gods we have formed in our hearts. These are the times we errantly rely on something or someone we have made ultimate in our lives. The good thing becomes twisted. The person who is a blessing to us gains a place of greater prominence than they should. We abandon our true God to find a god we believe we can rest in and rely on.
Is there a good thing, some blessing in your life that you have made the ultimate thing? Confess that to God. Turn away from that idol of the heart and rest in Him!
Even our greatest blessings can be twisted into an idol in our hearts. Let's keep our eyes on Jesus!