Idolatry: dependence and deserving.

Humanity was created to love. We are pretty good at loving what we want to love. Our love is far from perfect. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13. That is perfect love. Humanity does its best to love and longs for the type of love described in John 15. We love with everything inside of us, and yet we feel empty. Why doesn’t it work? Why can’t we love things enough to truly feel complete? Our love isn’t made complete until it is devoted to Jesus.

Misappropriated love comes up time and time again in our history. The Israelites were really good at loving things other than God. It took them mere moments to create a Golden Calf when Moses went up Mount Sinai to receive the law from God. Devoted love for anything other than the King of Glory is idolatry. We give undeserving things our time, talent and treasure in exchange for lesser love. If we know that adoring anything other than God will end in disappointment, why then do we do it? If it isn’t tied to our relationship with Jesus, what is it tied to?

Humanity is a needy bunch. There are things we long for that we can find in the form of fortune and fame. However, becoming dependent on something that doesn’t give back is a way to buy into lack. If we direct our need towards things that have an end, there is a point at which the need becomes greater than the object. For instance, consider you have all the money in the world. Then what? If you were the only one with currency, would currency matter? What does money do for you? Oftentimes, humanity becomes dependent on money and becomes enslaved to money. If money rules your life, there is no living. Money is supposed to serve us, not be served by us. “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10. 

Empowered dependence is a trait of a faithful believer. We need to be active in our spiritual lives, but fully dependent on the King of the universe.

Rationality can be our downfall. We deem things more deserving than they truly are.

If you spend enough time pondering something, you can give it worth beyond any intention you may have. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5. Our minds can lead us to places that shouldn’t be entertained. If we find ourselves placing rational thought above Jesus, we are deeming what our minds can accomplish as more deserving than our King. God is deserving of everything. This is not a mentality of works, rather a mentality of adoration and thanksgiving. The gifts of God outnumber anything we can deem deserving.

In order for us to know what we are dependent on or what we deem deserving, we should look to our actions. Do you reach for your phone before reaching to others? Do you walk in obedience? How are you spending you time, talent and treasure? I think John Wimber said it best “Show me where you spend your time, money and energy and I’ll tell you what you worship.” Simple, but honest. Where we spend ourselves is what we are dependent on and what we find deserving. Jesus alone is enough. Jesus is what I aim to be dependent upon. Jesus is the most deserving.