Today I was reading Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods and I was overwhelmed by how much it spoke into the heart behind my idols. If you were to ask my closest friends they would tell you that I hate being alone and even more than that I hate not being included in something. I have always struggled with needing a best friend or a boyfriend. Until recently, I have always had that one person who I spent the majority of my time with and whom wanted to spend time with me over anyone else. The problem was that I became dependent on these people in my life. When one would go, I quickly filled the position and continued on feeding my idol of acceptance and comfort. The real problem: I was worshipping and serving the creature, rather than the creator (Romans 1:25). I exchanged the truth of God- that I was created to know and treasure the glory of God above all things- for a lie and instead believed that my meaning for life was to find companions who would love me and accept me. Instead of believing that God showed his love for me by sending Jesus to die on my behalf so that I could receive the highest status-acceptance before God (Romans 5:8, 2 Cor. 5:21), I started believing that God’s love wasn’t good enough and I needed to find my worth in having some person show undivided attention to me. People became my counterfeit Gods.
Here is what Tim Keller says about this subject:
- An idolatrous attachment can lead you to break any promise, rationalize any indiscretion, or betray any other allegiance in order to told onto it. It may drive you to violate all good and proper boundaries. To practice idolatry is to be a slave.
- Because the secular world did not see fit to acknowledge God (Rom. 1:28) and believes that we are here by accident, we instill a sense of significance in our lives through “apocalyptic romance”- We look to sex or romance to give us meaning we were meant to get from God.
- When we elevate the partner to a position of god, we simply want redemption- nothing less.
- The love object is God. No lover, no human, can be qualified for that role; no one can live up to it. The inevitable result: bitter disillusionment.
- If you are too afraid to love OR too enamored by it, it has assumed godlike power, distorting your perceptions and your life.
- Our fears and inner barrenness make love a narcotic, a way to medicate ourselves- and addicts always make foolish, destructive choices.
This plays out in Genesis 29 in Jacob’s pursuit of Rachel:
16Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. 18Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” 20So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. 21Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” 22So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. 23But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. 25And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?”
Jacob was so obsessed and caught up in getting Rachel that he was distracted and deceived. He didn’t know and trust in the love of God and thus sought to place Rachel in a position God should have been. no person, not even the best one, can give your soul all it needs. You are always going to think you have gone to bed with Rachel and wake up and it will always be Leah. This cosmic disillusionment and disappointment is there in all of life, but we especially feel it in the things upon which we set our hopes.
This is my struggle. I elevate people and expect them to meet my needs by adoring me and setting me apart. When this happens, I see myself become like an addict, desperately needing his fix, but finding no narcotics to ease his time of pain. In withdraw, I can turn to Jesus, my redeemer.
“I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason: that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Tim. 1:13-16)
This is a good promise: “There is there for now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4)
Lord, by the power of your great and powerful mercy, release me from the enslavement of idolizing the comfort and approval of man and help me reorient the entire focus of my life toward you. You love is all that I was ever supposed to long for and it is enough.