December 30 I Friday
“Then the Word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling-blocks before their faces.’” —Ezekiel 14:2-3
Idols do not belong to antiquity alone. We have a multitude of idols today, which as God said to Ezekiel, are set up within our hearts and serve as a stumbling block to enjoying a deeply enriched relationship with Him. Many of the gods people worship are not external in nature, but internal, because it is actually the heart that is a perpetual manufacturing centre for idols.
The heart is defined as the core of our thoughts, feelings and emotions. It is the innermost part of our being from which idol worship is derived. In Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods, he defines idols as something we cannot live without, something that dominates us and becomes the driving force in our lives. It may seem innocent at first, but over time it begins to control us. One of the most prevalent idols in the lives of people has always been the love of money. Keller writes, “Money can become so much more than the means of exchange; it can become a powerful, life-altering, culture-shaping god that eventually breaks the hearts of its worshipers.”
Materialism, sex, power, pride, body image and fame are all gods built up within the hearts of their worshipers. They not only determine how their time and money is spent, but are the means to create an impressive reputation. In the worshiper’s materialistic thinking, reputation is what will define them, but anything other than God Himself will leave us disillusioned and frustrated. For many years, Bill Wyman was the bassist with the Rolling Stones. He wrote a book about their band from his perspective saying, “The journey of getting to the top was the most exciting thing on earth. But when we got there, there was nothing there. It was empty.”
We all have an inherent desire to grasp for something bigger and better outside of ourselves. We can go to any place in the world, any town in its history, whether primitive or sophisticated, and though we may not see industry, institutions of learning or any indication of accumulated wealth, we will see evidence of worship, whether a temple, mosque, shrine, church or an idol. The reason is because the whole of the Bible is one continuous story of the God who created us and is wooing us into relationship with Him. Any other driving force in our lives will never be our friend. They are mere substitutes that may give satisfaction for a season, but will inevitably deplete us. It is God alone through Jesus Christ who meets our deepest needs. In intimate union with Christ, we are made complete in Him and want for nothing.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I ask that You keep me from any materialistic goals in life. Help me to understand that I am fully complete in You. Thank You, Lord.