What makes you happy? What are you depending on today to give you satisfaction in life?
Our dependency is rooted in our worship. What we put our trust in is ultimately the thing we bow the knee to. Sure, it may seem small and insignificant, but I’ve seen a small, insignificant pleasure become the altar on which some have sacrificed everything.
We sacrifice the Lord’s Day for travel ball.
We skip Connect Group for a money-making opportunity.
We substitute our time with God for time on our phones.
We sacrifice performance at our main job by obsessing over our “side-hustle.”
Our pleasurable distractions have now become our idols. This is why Paul said, “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry,” (I Corinthians 10:14).
According to Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, an idol is “whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself.”
Idols are the enemies of rest and the danger of pleasure. Remember the children of Israel in Exodus 32? Israel, God’s chosen people—those He had delivered out of bondage—turned their gaze to an idol. Moses was up on Mt. Sinai for forty days receiving instruction from the Lord. It was in this moment that something changed in the hearts of God’s people and compelled them to serve another god.
They were fearful.
The person on whom they were dependent for leadership and guidance was gone. There was no sign that Moses was alive. There were no answers—only questions. Their fear of the unknown compelled them to change the course of their worship.
Many people do things they never thought they would by simply listening to their fears.
They were forgetful.
Not only did they turn their back on God so quickly, but they even gave the credit of their deliverance to a golden statue. Now, the Pharisee in me wants to dispute the fact that I would never do such a thing to Christ, but I know myself all too well. The reality is that none of us are above turning our back on God. Neither were God’s chosen people.
“They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;” (Psalm 106:21).
We are all prone to wander, prone to forget what God has done for us. Take yourself back to the moment you first met Him. Do you remember the joy and peace that you had in His presence?
What happened? Where did the peace go? Where did the overwhelming grace flee to? Could it be that we have forgotten some things? We have forgotten about His love which first loved us.
We have forgotten His grace by which He saved us. We have forgotten His compassion by which He moved to heal us. We have forgotten His blessings that He faithfully bestows on us. We have forgotten His comfort by which He will not leave us comfortless.
“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:8-9).
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip,” (Hebrews 2:1).
They gave into their flesh.
I Corinthians 10:31 challenges us that “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
God wishes to have control of the small things because He knows we can become dependent upon the small things instead of Him.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a heroic martyr for Christ, shares his battle with his flesh: “With irresistible power desire seizes mastery over the flesh…. It makes no difference whether it is sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, or love of fame and power, or greed for money…. Joy in God is…extinguished in us, and we seek all our joy in the creature. At this moment God is quite unreal to us; He loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real…. Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God…. The lust thus aroused envelops the mind and will of man in deepest darkness. The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us. The questions present themselves: ‘Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?’ ‘Is it really not permitted to me, yes — expected of me, now, here, in my particular situation, to appease desire?’… It is here that everything within me rises up against the Word of God.”
We can easily convince our flesh that we need something simply because we desire to have it. “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak,” (Mark 14:38b).