“Then God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house where you were servants. Have no gods other than Me. Do not make for yourselves a god to look like anything that is in heaven above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. Do not worship them or work for them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.’” Exodus 20:1-5a (NLT)
How quickly we turn something ideal into an idol! Good things like marriages, babies, money, jobs or possessions are great gifts from God but can become our objects of worship if we are not careful. The creation becomes more important to us than the Creator.
Some people want to be in a relationship or married and think the right person will make their life better and happier. In reality only a relationship with Christ can bring total fulfillment and before they know it, they are serving the created instead of the Creator. If God isn’t our first love, we will have the tendency to put the person we are in a relationship with first, which becomes a huge burden on them and will make us sorely disappointed that they can’t fulfill our needs.
The woman who longs to be a mother thinks that if only she could have a child she will be happy. The ideal of motherhood becomes an idol for some women. This happened to me before we had our first child. I thought that once we decided to start a family it would happen quickly and that motherhood would be the acme of life experiences. It took a long time, many tears and even an operation to get us to the point where we could have a child. Although motherhood has been beautiful, it’s also been hard at times and quite a challenge. This type of ideal for some women can quickly become an idol and one can find themself let down as expectations exceed reality.
What about the man or woman pursuing a career and moving up in the company to find purpose. This person can become fixated on the ideal job fulfilling them and making them happy instead of Jesus meeting that need. Money can quickly become an idol in our lives. We think, if only we have enough money for this or that then we will be happy. Money cannot bring true joy and happiness like Jesus can.
We must make every effort to submit our ideals to God and allow Him to direct us to His good and perfect will for us. God speaks to us through Isaiah 48. In verse 4-5 He admonishes, “For I knew how stubborn you were; your neck muscles were iron, your forehead was bronze. Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, ‘My images brought them about; my wooden image and metal god ordained them’.” Do you have an image, an ideal or possession that you are clinging to more than God? Are you claiming that this created thing is going to bring about your happiness and is making you who and what you are? We must fight the tendency to make our ideals (images) become idols. Every day we must submit ourselves and our possessions to Christ and give Him all we have. In other words, don’t let ideals become idols…keep Christ first and foremost in our lives. God can give us much more satisfaction, joy and peace than any created thing.