I hate idols. You know, those things that you chase after hoping they will provide some sort of relief, comfort or joy. They never give me what they promise, and they always take more than I expect. It’s just too bad that I don’t hate them enough.
A real God will provide lasting relief, comfort and joy
Paul hated idols so much that he did something about it. Acts 17:16 (NIV) ‘While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols’. The passage goes on to say that Paul was so distressed that he began reasoning with anyone who would listen to him. He begins sharing the good news; there is a real God who will provide lasting relief, comfort and joy! Even better is the fact that you don’t have to earn it from Him! He gives it as a gift!
One of the reasons that you may not share the gospel is because you don’t hate how people are being hurt by their vain pursuit of idolatry. Everyone has an unquenchable desire for intimacy, joy, purpose, acceptance and meaning. These idols will never give anyone what God has promised. God is the only being that can completely satisfy all of our desires.
Hope cannot be supported by anything but true divinity
The people around you are dying and wasting away without God’s presence in their lives. I know they look like they are ok. But they aren’t. They don’t seem to need his blessing in their lives. But they do. We need to see that our friends’ lives are being propped up by false gods. They seem to be doing ok because they have a stable job, healthy family and some time off on the weekends. That’s not going to be enough. Eventually those man-made pleasures will fall apart. Their lives will begin to crumble as they see that their hopes cannot be supported by anything – true divinity is required for the support of hopes.
Burn their idols to the ground!
We have to be able see idolatry, and to plead with our neighbors to follow the one true God. We have to be “greatly distressed” by these false God’s. Don’t wait. Don’t assume that they will see your actions and will want what you have. Right now, their gods might be making them happy. They might feel ok. You have to care about them and hate their idols enough to get out there and do something about it! Burn their idols to the ground! Help them to see how silly it is to put your trust in something that will never last. Those idols don’t have the power to bring ultimate comfort! Look for opportunities to tell everyone around you that their idols are insufficient, and that you know the all powerful loving God of the universe is more than sufficient!
Why do you think we become so lackadaisical about the idolatry around us? What can we do this week to begin to be distressed by this idolatry?
This post was contributed by Joel Bertles. He is a Pastoral Intern at Faith Church, and he going to be pastoring at a church plant in Western Massachusetts after he graduates in June. You can follow him on twitter: jcbertles.