“Therefore the Lord was angry with Amaziah and sent him a prophet, who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?” 2 Chronicles 25:15
I read this verse the other day and it really stuck out to me. It stuck out because of Amaziah’s complete lack of logic in worshipping the idols of another people, especially those he defeated in battle. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that I fall into this trap on a daily basis.
I worship idols all the time and it disrupts my relationship with God just like it disrupted Amaziah’s relationship with God.
While I don’t keep golden statues in my house and incense burning in front of them, I still have plenty of idols in my life. I give my heart to these idols and place my hope in them because I assume they can give me the satisfaction I desire. They may be small idols like football or big ones like marriage, but they steal my heart from God all the same.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34
Football and marriage are good examples because nothing is wrong with pursuing or enjoying either of them. Both of them easily become a problem though when I think I need them in order to get the satisfaction that my heart desires. When I do that I place my hope in football and marriage instead of God.
When it comes to football, I find myself thinking that I can’t get as much joy out of life if my teams don’t win that week. With marriage I assume that I am missing out on a great deal of peace and joy because I’m single. I assume in both cases that I can’t experience a full life without experiencing success in these areas.
Amaziah assumed the same thing when he worshipped those idols. Even though he had just defeated the Edomites who made those idols because God helped him, he still believed those idols would help him get the success that he needed. That seems like the silliest idea in the world and yet I find myself thinking that way all the time.
I know that I am an eternal being who can only find true satisfaction in the eternal Father. I also know that God created marriage and understands the joys of it way better than I do. He created me along with the things that bring joy and peace to my heart.
‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
This verse gives me a great deal of trouble because I commonly trust myself and not God when it comes to the matters of my heart. Even though He made my heart and knows it better than I do, I often believe that I know what’s best when it comes to getting the satisfaction my heart desires. That seemingly innocent belief creates havoc in my relationship with God.
It causes so much damage because it turns my eyes from God and eventually leads me to thinking that I can’t get the satisfaction that I need from God. It starts with thinking that I know best and ends with thinking that God is not enough. That conclusion causes me to seek out God less and less in my life and consequently causes me to lose out on all of the fruits of that relationship.
It seems like such a trivial and everyday thing to put my hope in football or marriage, but it eventually hurts my relationship with God. When I don’t lean into God with the problem of my unmet desires and open my heart to Him, I don’t feel as close or comfortable with Him. My trust in God decreases when I don’t feel as close or comfortable with Him and that means I commonly find myself in a downwards spiral.
The only way to solve this is to recognize all of the things that I place my hope in instead of God. I have to continually and rigorously check my heart to see if I’m enjoying something or taking it a step further and placing my hope in that thing. It can be really hard to tell the difference between those two and I know that I will get it wrong from time to time.
That doesn’t mean I should stop checking my heart though. We all need to consistently ask ourselves if we have crossed over the line between seeking something and placing our hope in it, and we need to be honest with ourselves. I know that it feels incredibly uncomfortable to take an honest look at goals like marriage or hobbies like football; it can even feel like I’m betraying my heart or being a killjoy.
I promise you that the only way to kill your joy is to love anything more than God. He provides the greatest joy possible and a peace that surpasses understanding (Phil 4:6-7). If we don’t look to Him for the peace and joy that our heart desires and open our hearts about the frustration of our unmet desires, our relationship with Him will suffer and we will miss out on our only chance to taste a little bit of Heaven today.
Image Copyright: Urek Meniashviliby