We all have idol problems. It’s not just us; it runs in the family.
Adam and Eve started it all. They took the forbidden fruit, and in that moment, rejected God in exchange for their own way.
Boom. Idol Worship.
They chose to reject God and instead worshiped the idols of selfishness and pleasure. This course of man’s heart is nothing new, look what God says to the Israelites through Jeremiah:
And while it is all too easy to be hard on the Israelites, we are just as guilty of the same sin. Our natural desires are not to pursue God, our “spring of living water,” but rather to abandon him for our self-made idols, those “broken cisterns” that don’t hold water.
Our sin starts long before the marriage issues, long before the fight with our teen, long before the anxiety builds to the point of paralysis, long before the porn goes on. The sin starts in our hearts when we fuel our soul’s desires for things other than God.
Everyday we are filled up with things we allow into our hearts, weather good or bad: the music we hear on the radio, the TV shows we choose to watch, the conversations we have throughout the day, the things we allow our eyes to linger on. These are the things we store up in our hearts, and as a result, the actions that flow out reveal what we’ve been filling it with.
Do we fill our hearts on God, his truth, his desires, the things that he cares about?
Or do we drink deeply from the world, and then expect to somehow live differently from it?
When we look to God’s Word and catch a glimpse of the depth of his love, when we understand a sliver of his power and authority, when we grasp a small taste of how sweet and comforting his words are, we begin to see the ludicrousness of turning away from him. We see how crazy it would be to abandon such a wonderful “spring of living water” for a broken, empty cistern. When our hearts are awakened by the power of the only living, true God, we cannot help but be changed. We are left longing for more of him, and less of the world.
When Christ rescues us, he takes us as we are; broken messed up people. But his desire isn’t to leave us that way, it’s to change us from the inside out. The Holy Spirit works to sanctify our entire lives for him.
And this transformation takes place when we are saturated and satisfied in Jesus alone. Every. Single. Day. That’s the day our idols fall. There is no other way. Only the blood of Jesus and his power at work in us can turn around the heart of a broken sinner.
This change doesn’t require us to be better at fixing ourselves! As we see in the Ezekiel 36 passage, our new heart comes from God.
We need to continually turn our eyes to Christ and be satisfied in him as our ultimate and lasting pleasure. It means humbly going into his Word in order to find truth and continually asking God to change us, to move us, and give us new hearts that yearn for him and his will in our lives.
In addition, we need to guard carefully what we allow to fill our hearts. It’s one thing to know this academically, it’s another thing to let this change the course of our life. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that in order to be satisfied in Jesus alone; in order to resist my pull towards the things of this world; in order to humble myself and let God lead my life; I need a good dose of God… about every 5 minutes.
And God knows that. Look what he told the Israelites:
God knows how weak and desperate for him we are. We need his word to constantly guide us in every area of our life. God knows the state of our humanness, yet he loves us dearly.
Look at Jesus, the very night he was betrayed and arrested, he prayed that our hearts would be filled by his Word.
This world is a crazy place to live. There is turmoil, sin, depravity, temptation, evil, and sadness. We must not be fooled by the shiny paint on the idols Satan is still promoting. They may look grand, and everyone else may be running after them, but God’s Word gives our eyes clarity to see the facade. We must turn away from the things that tempt us and try to fill our hearts.
Where are you looking today? Don’t get caught up in it.
Let God take away your heart of stone. Let his Word transform it into a heart of flesh that beats for him and him alone. Turn your eyes to the source of true pleasure and find real life in him. Jesus will always fully satisfy.