I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Shana Schutte
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”Matthew 22:37
If you and I could sit down over a cup of coffee and I asked you, “How would you describe an idol or a lesser love?” You might say an idol is anything we believe can take God’s place in our lives—it is a lie, a false god, a seduction, or a deception. But would you describe it as emptiness? According to my New Testament Word Study Bible, the word “idol” means this very thing. I find this definition interesting, because we don’t usually believe our idols are emptiness. Otherwise we wouldn’t cling to them. Instead, we believe they’re something-ness. We may even think, “Sure, my idol doesn’t really satisfy me, but at least it has some value.”
God has a different idea.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8).
If something is empty, it’s empty. It’s not partially empty or sort of empty or a little bit empty—it’s just empty! This means that idols can’t bring lasting peace or satisfaction to anyone’s life, so allowing anything or anyone but God to top your list of dreams, hopes, or desires is a waste of time and life. If we think that we can run from God and embrace idols to find love, satisfaction, peace, or any kind of lasting fulfillment, we’re only fooling ourselves. Maybe you’re thinking, “Wait a minute! How can this be? My idol is desirable. It makes me feel good, so how can it be bad? I can’t believe it’s empty!” Granted, at first, idols may give the impression that they’ll satisfy. But they never deliver. Idols lure us in with great promise, but once we embrace them to save us, they mock us.
In his book “The Healing Path” Dan Allender writes that the goal of evil is to “offer glory, then give nothing but heartache, impotence and shame.” In C. S. Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape, a worldly wise old devil, echoes Allender’s statement when he coaches his nephew, Wormwood, a novice demon, on how to seduce someone. “To get the man’s soul and give him nothing in return—that is what really gladdens Our Father’s [Satan’s] heart.”
This is the danger of idols: they never deliver the satisfaction we desire. They lie. They’re empty. They lead to loss. Remember: they have power over us only if we believe they’ll give us something we want.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4).
Prayer: Lord, thank you that you can run circles around any dream, hope or desire that I have. I pray that I will let you have the top place in my heart and life. Amen.