December 31 I Saturday
“Therefore say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!’” —Ezekiel 14:6
Idols are anything that we take and put in the place of God. We usually think of idols as little statues that we fashion and bow down to, and in some parts of the world, that is still the reality. But in the West, we do not bow down to statues; rather, in our hearts, we try to take good things and find our meaning and purpose in them.
During the New Testament time, the Greeks had gods for every aspect of life. In our modern culture, we have shrines–our offices, our spas and our gyms–to all these false gods and make sacrifices to attain fulfillment from them. We may not go to the temple of Aphrodite and worship, but how many young girls in our society have driven themselves to depression and eating disorders over a desire to attain an unrealistic standard of beauty? We may not burn incense to the god Artemis, but how many people have sacrificed their children on the altar of career and financial success, thinking that it could make them happy and give them everything that they have ever wanted? Our hearts are idol-making factories. We tend to take things that are not bad in and of themselves and put them into a god-like state in our lives.
In Timothy Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods, he speaks about this phenomenon and explains: “Our hearts deify them as the center of our lives because we think they can give us significance and security, safety and fulfillment if we attain them.” In Ezekiel 14:3, God confronted the elders of Israel and said to the prophet Ezekiel: “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling-blocks before their faces. Should I let them enquire of Me at all?” The men that God was addressing were not bowing down to anything that their hands had made, but God was saying that the human heart takes things like a successful career, love, material possession, even relationships or family, and tries to turn them into the ultimate thing in their lives.
But here is the problem: over time, the things we fix our hearts, our minds and our purpose on dissipate. Then, our idol-seeking hearts start to roam around and look for the new thing that we can attach to and seek meaning from. This becomes a relentless pursuit. The only way for this cycle to end is to pursue God, and from Him, find true and lasting meaning and purpose in life. As we step into the New Year, may the pure pursuit of God alone be our resolution.
Prayer: Dear God, I confess the things that I pursue to find meaning and purpose in life that are apart from You. Lead my heart and mind to be satisfied by You alone. Thank You, God.