I once heard a woman on television say she wanted another child because, “I know another child will make me happy.” She already had eight. If she birthed more babies, a hunch tells me she discovered Number 9 couldn’t do anything for her that Numbers 1-8 hadn’t. This woman had made an idol out of motherhood.
I used to think an idol was either just an icon, like those I see in a particular shop window near my home, or something you owned that also “owned you.” But I later realized an idol can be anything you just want more than God. It can be something you believe will “save” you—just like this woman believed another baby would save her.
Somewhere in my thirties, it slowly dawned on me in a way it hadn’t ever before, that all my biggest and brightest dreams fulfilled, and even the greatest gifts life offers, such as the love of family and friends will never fully satisfy. All of our greatest earthly desires are like icing on the cake of life, not the cake. And they can never be the cake. It’s not possible. Only God gets to be the cake. It’s the way He designed it.
When we admit that a new home, the best furnishings, a six-figure job, a loving spouse, or even another child cannot fill us, we are in a very good place. At first, it may make us feel desperate because we come face-to-face with our emptiness. But it’s a good kind of desperate because it can lead to peace and rest.
Until then, we are like little children who scream in a panic while grasping at the sky “I want!” But after we admit nothing in this world can satisfy like Christ, we can lie down in the gentle grass of God’s enough. And then (Ah, joy!) comes rest from striving.
To realize you are desperate and that nothing in this world can satisfy leads to liberation from the bondage of serving idols which never keep their promises. All of us have a choice: we can admit nothing in this world will ultimately fill us, or we can spend our entire lives on an endless chase of emptiness, running after another new relationship, another new car, or another new job to make us happy—and we’ll be miserable.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that these things are bad; it’s just that they’re only good for us when we assign them the place in our hearts God has assigned to them. Giving them His place on the throne of our lives only leads to torment.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” (1 John 2:15)
Do you believe that anything else in life will satisfy besides Christ? Talk to Him about your desires today and ask Him to speak to you and set you free the power of idolatry.