“An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.’” (Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods, xviic).
This weekend Pastor Jeff Manion showed us the significance of the Parable of the Belt. Israel was chosen to be near to God and, like a belt wrapped around his waist, they were chosen for nearness and intimacy (Jeremiah13.11). However, because of idolatry, Israel would be judged and become totally worthless (Jeremiah 13.9-10).
God continually warned Israel against chasing the gods of the surrounding cultures. They were an affront to God because Israel couldn’t simply add another god to the worship of the true God. Adding another god means not genuinely worshipping the real God.
Unfortunately, not only did Israel often ignore God’s warnings, so do we. We can’t let something else be the most important thing in our life and still claim to worship God. Just like Israel, God wants us to cling to him. He wants us to have a relationship of nearness and intimacy, a relationship where he provides our security and significance.
Because God wants that kind of a relationship with us, we can’t allow money, other people, our status (think Instagram), or anything else to provide our security and significance. We must realize we’re prone to taking good things and making them the ultimate thing.
Today ask yourself this week’s One Big Question: What are the most prevalent “God substitutes” in our culture? Discuss with your small group or family how these substitutes provide a false or temporary sense of security and significance. Resolve not to be swayed by the substitute gods.