July 21st, 2019
Sermon Title: “Worthless”
Aux. Text: Colossians 3:1-11
Call to Worship: Psalm 115
Service Orientation: Idols are making god Burger King style: your own way. God is Who He is. To make God anything else is to make a worthless idol.
Bible Memory Verse for the Week: Those who make idols will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. — Psalm 115:8
- The message is addressed to the house of Israel (v. 1), which includes the whole nation, not just the Ten Tribes already in exile for more than a century. Those who remained in the land still retained the customs of their heathen neighbors before them (v. 2). The purpose of Jeremiah’s words was to warn the people against being influenced to fall in with the cultic customs of the pagan nations in worshiping their gods. Idol worship was attended by elaborate ritual, motivated by demonic power, and accompanied by moral looseness. Thus it was a constant temptation. (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 446)
- (v. 2) The Babylonians were so successful that everything they did seemed glamorous, even their religion. When the Babylonians read the “signs in the sky” (v. 2), the Israelites wanted to check their horoscopes too. If idolatry was good enough for Babylon, it was good enough for Jerusalem. (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 185)
- (v. 2) The signs of the heavens referred to are not the sun, moon, and stars, or signs of the zodiac, meant by God to be signs (Gn 1:14), but unusual phenomena like eclipses, comets, and meteors, which were supposed to portend extraordinary events. They struck terror in the hearts of those who worshiped the superhuman power in the stars. They were supposed to predict evil. Both the Egyptians and the Babylonians were addicted to astrology. Idolatry that involves the heavenly bodies displeases God as much as the worship of man-made idols. (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 446-7)
- (v. 9) The Tarshish from which the silver came was probably located in Spain, considered the western limit of the ancient world. Since we do not know the location of Uphaz, some scholars suggest it was the prophet’s way of saying, “Everyone in the entire world is stupid except those who worship Yahweh.” (Max Anders, Holman OT Commentary: Jeremiah, 94)
- (v. 9) Blue (violet) and purple were obtained from the murex, a Mediterranean shellfish. These pigments were costly and were used in the curtains of the tabernacle (Ex 25:4). In spite of all the workmanship lavished on them, idols are still the work of human hands. Everything connected with them is made by puny man. (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 448-9)
- (v. 10) This verse contains a threefold contrast with idols: (1) They are false; he is true. (2) They are dead; he is living. (3) They are transitory and subject to destruction; he is eternal. (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah, 449)
- (v. 16) This mutual possession depends on our occupation of mind and heart with Him. We possess Him and are possessed by Him, when our wills are kept in harmony with, and submission to, Him, when our thoughts are occupied with Him and His truth, when our affections rest in Him, when our desires go out to Him, when our hopes are centered in Him, when our practical life is devoted to Him. (Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: Jeremiah, 270)
- (v. 16) To possess God is to have an all-sufficient object for all our nature. He who has God for his very own has the fountain of life in himself, has the spring of living water, as it were, in his own courtyard, and needs not to go elsewhere to draw. (Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: Jeremiah, 271)
- (v. 16) For so long as we own ourselves we are burdens to ourselves, and we only own ourselves truly when we give ourselves away utterly. Earthly love, with its blessed mysteries of mutual possession, teaches us that. But all its depth and joy are as nothing when set beside the liberty, the glad peace, the assured possession of our enriched selves, which are ours when we give ourselves wholly to God, and so for the first time are truly lords of ourselves, and find ourselves by losing ourselves in Him.
Nor need we fear to say that God, too, delights in that mutual possession, for the very essence of love is the desire to impart itself, and He is love supreme and perfect. Therefore is He glad when we let Him give Himself to us, and moved by “the mercies of God, yield ourselves to Him a sacrifice of a sweet smell, acceptable to God.” (Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: Jeremiah, 271)
The questions to be answered are . . . What is an idol? Why is the real God so dead set against fake, worthless gods?
Answer: An idol is anything we excessively love or adore which brings transient meaning, satisfaction or significance to our lives. Unfortunately, any idol cannot really produce that which brings ultimate meaning, satisfaction or significance. Only the real God can.
Idolatry: God Substitutes
Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that ought to be worshiped. —Augustine.
God is everywhere. However, He does not want you to reach out for Him everywhere but only in the Word. Reach out for it and you will grasp Him aright. Otherwise you are tempting God and setting up idolatry. That is why He has established a certain method for us. This teaches us how and where we are to look for Him and find Him, namely, in the Word. — Martin Luther.
The Word for the Day is . . . Idol
Idols are nothing more than God’s good gifts that we have perverted and distorted to become all important. We lack the courage or integrity to blame ourselves for allowing the corruption, and we excuse ourselves from blame by making them gods. — Pastor Keith
The thing you fear the most is probably the thing that you are counting on to earn your righteousness before God. It is your idol, your work, your merit before God. (Tim Keller; message on Mt 5:1-10)
Origen (c. 185-254)–the great African theologian of the third century–said, “What each one honors before all else, what before all things he admires, and loves, this for him is god.” So food, control, sex, popularity, success, leisure, and financial security can all become like gods. They can occupy the place in life that God alone should occupy. (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 185)
Whatever we worship and serve other than the true and living God is an idol, whether it’s an expensive house or car, the latest stereo equipment, a boat, a library, a girlfriend or boyfriend, our children, a career, or a bank account. That on which I center my attention and affection and for which I am willing to sacrifice is my god, and if it isn’t Jesus Christ, then it’s an idol. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 Jn 5:21). (Warren Wiersbe, Be Decisive, 60)
To identify your own idols, ask questions like these: What things take the place of God in my life? Where do I find my significance and my confidence? What things make me really angry? (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 188)
Our coins read, “In God we trust.” But someone has suggested that we should alter today’s inscription to read, “In this god we trust.” Job wisely said, “If I have put my trust in gold or aid to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained…then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high” (Job 31:24, 25, 28) This is idolatry! Jesus put it with supreme simplicity: “You cannot serve both God and Money” (Mt. 6:24). In what, then, do we really trust? (R. Kent Hughes; Disciplines of Grace, 37)
If I cry out against God because of a great loss, I have just revealed my idol; that thing or person he blessed me with, rather than He who blesses me. — Buddy Briggs
What does Jeremiah say we need to know about idols?:
I- Idolatry is making god your way. (Jer 10:2-4 see also: Isa 44:9-20; 66:3; Col 3:1-5)
They believe the Bible about certain things, but not everything. They start thinking they can be a Christian but live the way they want to live instead of following the Bible. That kind of self-will and stubbornness is what the Bible calls idolatry. (Jentezen Franklin, The Spirit of Python, 47)
The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is—in itself a monstrous sin—and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness. Always this God will conform to the image of the one who created it and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges. (A. W. Tozer; The Knowledge of the Holy, 3)
What you see when the veil is drawn back on the many “spiritualities” of our day is that they are so many versions of idolatry. They are nothing but human attempts to use human means to achieve identity and power for the individual. Idolatry is marked by the will to use God for our purposes. So many of our “spiritualities” today, including many that go under the name of “Christian,” are really forms of idolatry. (Dallas Willard; The Great Omission, 48)
We think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case. The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes. Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life. (Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, xvii)
To those who submit gladly to the truth of God about themselves as sinners, and about Christ as the Savior, and about the Holy Spirit as the Sanctifer, and about God the Father as Creator–to them sex and food are sanctified. That is, they are pure. They are not unclean idols competing for our affections, which belong supremely to God. They are instead pure partners in the revelation of God’s glory. They are beams of his goodness along which the pure in heart see God (Mt 5:8). (John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God, 189)
Idols are the children of covetousness. Born of an adulterous affair with the world. An affair that began with a recognized discontentment with God. — Buddy Briggs
Depravity is man’s own way. (Chuck Swindoll, “How Fights Are Started and Stopped”)
Idol-worship makes a material circumstance out of what ought to be a spiritual experience, and encourages the ridiculous spectacle of people venerating their own impotent creations. (R.K. Harrison, Tyndale OT Commentaries: Jeremiah, 93)
The siren song of popular culture is to avoid pain and take the easy way, the path of least resistance. But God’s Word still speaks truly: “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tm 3:12). Jesus embraced the cross by refusing the easy way, and as his followers, he says, we must do the same: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Mt 16:24, 25).
If we embrace the logic of Jesus’ refusal to take the easy way, we will see that taking the path of least resistance, to follow comfortable expediency, is idolatry–it is worshiping a false God. (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Luke, Vol. One, 136)
(In commenting on 1 Jn 5:21) “Either this is a radical change of thought, or the ENTIRE LETTER IS ABOUT IDOLS!” Yes! Yes! Yes! The essences of walking in Christ and the essence of the entire Christian life is staying away from idols. —D. Martin Lloyd-Jones
For some time now, we have been in the mire of something called “spirituality,” which in my experience tends to be decidedly anti-traditionalist, anti-institutional, amorphous, vague and therefore undemanding.
Spirituality is what I feel when I feel better than I did before I felt it. It is a big, accommodating basket into which I can put almost anything I want to feel about the “higher power,” or “spiritual force,” or “my own little voice,” or whatever I call whatever it is that makes me feel better.
Just for now, I’m trying to discipline myself, whenever I hear someone around here say “spirituality,” to think “idolatry.”
The trouble is, Jesus is demanding. He is not infinitely pliable. (William H. Willimon; Leadership, Winter 2002, 38)
Rom 1:21, the reason we want idols is because we want control of our own lives.
Pastors must be very careful of trying to have control in the church setting in that it sets us up to be vulnerable to the idols of pride, status and reputation. (Steve Childers’ notebook Tab 5; page 44 – Idols Project)
The only way I know how to fight back against allowing money to become an idol, the only way I know how to break the greedy pattern of get, get, get in my life, is the one Jesus taught us and modeled for us again and again.
The healthy way to handle money–and any other potential idol in our lives–is to give, give, give, trusting God to provide what we really need. (Pete Wilson, Empty Promises, 105)
When a symbol becomes the reality rather than a reflection of it—it becomes an idol.
II- Idols are lifeless, helpless, worthless. (Jer 10:4-5, 8, 15 see also: Dt 4:28; 2 Kgs 17:15; Ps 31:6; 115:4-8; 135:15-18; Isa 41:7, 24, 29; 44:9-20; 46:5-7; Jer 2:5; 8:19; 10:4, 8, 14; 14:22; 16:19; 18:15; 51:15-19; 1 Cor 8:4; 10:19)
Birds may be frightened of scarecrows, but human beings know better. In this way, Jeremiah makes the biting observation that humans should know better than they do about idols. There is nothing there but fakery. They cannot even move themselves and therefore are worthless, not able to help or hurt a person. (Tremper Longman III, Understanding the Bible: Jeremiah, Lamentations, 94-5)
Hubris is the first and most popular form of idolatry. But all forms of idolatry involve us deeply in folly. All idolatry is not only treacherous but also futile. Human desire, deep and restless and seemingly unfulfillable, keeps stuffing itself with finite goods, but these cannot satisfy. If we try to fill our hearts with anything besides the God of the universe, we find that we are overfed but under-nourished, and we find that day by day, week by week, year after year, we are thinning down to a mere outline of a human being. (Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be, 122-3)
Three times Jeremiah told the people of Israel that idols were “worthless.” “The customs of the peoples” (v. 3), “wooden idols” (v. 8) and images (v. 15) are all said to be “worthless.” The word translated “worthless” is the same word repeated so often in Ecclesiastes. Idolatry is vanity. Idols are absolute nothings, total zeroes. (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 186)
In all of this, idols are subtracting because they not only give us nothing, but they take away what we have. (R. Kent Hughes; Disciplines of Grace, 89)
The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things the beauty, the memory of our own past are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. (C. S. Lewis; The Weight of Glory, 5)
God thus commands Jeremiah to tell them (the people of Judah) that the false gods, represented by idols, will perish. In one sense, the gods of the nations never existed to begin with, so how can they perish? Two answers are possible. The first is that they do exist. They are not deities, but lesser and malevolent spiritual beings (the NT will refer to them as demons). The second answer is that even though the gods do not exist, it is their worship that will perish. (Tremper Longman III, Understanding the Bible: Jeremiah, Lamentations, 95)
III- Idol worshipers become what they worship. (Jer 10:14 see also: Ps 115:4-8; 135:15-18; Jer 2:5; 51:15-19; 1 Cor 12:2)
Idolaters are as false as their idols. Even the wise men of the nations “are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols” (v. 8). (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 187)
Of course, in a world estranged from God, even good things must be handled with care, like explosives. We have lost the untainted innocence of Eden, and every good harbors risk as well, holding within it the potential for abuse. Eating becomes gluttony, love becomes lust, and along the way we lose sight of the One who gave us pleasure. The ancients turned good things into idols; we moderns call them addictions. (Philip Yancey; Soul Survivor, 55)
The early church leader Augustine was once accosted by a heathen who showed him his idol and said, “Here is my god; where is thine?” Augustine replied, “I cannot show you my God; not because there is no God to show but because you have no eyes to see Him.”
- Every person is serving god(s) in his life.
- Every person is transformed into an image of his god.
- Mankind creates and forms a structure of society in its own image.
That for which I would give anything and accept nothing in exchange is the most important thing in my life. Whatever that is is my god (cf. Isa. 44:6-20). —J. McMath
An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give. Idolatry functions widely inside religious communities when doctrinal truth is elevated to the position of a false god. This occurs when people rely on the rightness of their doctrine for their standing with God rather than on God himself and his grace. It is a subtle but deadly mistake. The sign that you have slipped into this form of self-justification is that you become what the book of Proverbs calls a “scoffer.” Scoffers always show contempt and disdain for opponents rather than graciousness. This is a sign that they do not see themselves as sinners saved by grace. Instead, their trust in the rightness of their views makes them feel superior. (Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, 131)
It is possible for us to desire holiness for the wrong reasons; perhaps we simply want to use holiness for fame, as others might use a beautiful voice or eloquent speech. Or perhaps we are steeped in pride and simply unwilling to count ourselves among the truly sinful. This unholy desire for holiness produces a soul sadness that Satan exploits to further defeat us, with the intent of driving us off the cliff of despair.
Soul sadness “proceeds from an inordinate desire of being delivered from the evil which we feel, or of acquiring the good which we desire: and yet there is nothing which tends more to increase evil, and to prevent the enjoyment of good, than an unquiet mind.”
The essence of the Christian life is a love relationship with God. Our standing in the Christian life rests with Christ; when the virtues take on too much importance, that is, when acquiring virtues and avoiding sin become the primary focus of our walk, we have elevated the (admittedly important) secondary over the primary. Another way of putting it is that we have made an idol out of our own piety. (Gary L. Thomas, Seeking the Face of God, 79)
Worship Point: God is infinite, immutable, incomprehensible, all-powerful, all-knowing, ever present, righteous, holy, just and love. Make sure your worship reflects the God Who is.
God is not only bigger than your thinking, He is bigger than you can think. And if you’ve never stood before God and been totally confused; then your worshiping an idol. (Steve Brown; Who Is in Control, “1. A Solid Place to Stand”)
Why is gearing worship towards experiences likely to become idolatry? Because the focus is on what the worshiper wants and not what God wants. — Pastor Keith
Idol Worship Is Idle Worship. (Max Anders, Holman OT Commentary: Jeremiah, 93)
When the church gets into the business of staging experiences, that quickly becomes idolatry…Increasingly you find people talking about the worship experience rather than the worship service. That reflects what’s happening in the outside world. I’m dismayed to see churches abandon the means of grace that God ordains simply to conform to the patterns of the world. (Interview with Jim Gilmore, “No Experience Necessary,” Leadership 22, p. 31 as quoted by Philip Graham Ryken, Give Praise to God A Vision for Reforming Worship, 185)
Every time a church family gathers for worship, we come as idolaters or recovering idolaters. We all fight allegiances to someone or something other than God that make a claim on our lives. To pretend otherwise is to be naive and unprepared for the serious work of realignment we need. (Mark Labberton, The Dangerous Act of Worship, 62)
The only means for keeping worship free of idolatries is to keep God the subject. God frequently loses that role if churches insist on catering to the cultural idolatry of choice. Canadian sociologist Reginald Bibby shows that “some churches today may be declining not because they offer too few choices but too many.” (Marva Dawn; Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, 285)
A million things to worship and only one is safe. — Brian Plummer & Buddy Briggs
Who are our cultural idols? Why do we idolize whom we do? Why do we not idolize Christ? Are we that dependent upon hype and emotional or physical experience that we can not idolize Christ without hype? (Pastor Keith thoughts 2003)
“You asked for a loving God: You have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the “Lord of terrible aspect,” is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, not the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’ s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes . . . It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring.” (C. S. Lewis; The Problem of Pain, 46-7)
Whereas idols derive their position and authority solely from human sources, the living God of Israel is unique in all the kingdoms (with AV, RSV) as sovereign over the world. (R.K. Harrison, Tyndale OT Commentaries: Jeremiah, 93)
Ultimately idolatry must be regarded as displacing and denying the central element of transcendence that belongs to the essential understanding of God (cf. G. von Rad, Theology, I, 212ff.). Deity without transcendence becomes a contradiction in itself and very dangerous because denying the ultimate transcendence of God leaves the way open for all kinds of false and destructive claims to transcendent authority on the part of human institutions and artefacts. By implication too those who manipulate and administer these institutions derive from them a spurious power. When God is no longer acknowledged as Lord, this does not put an end to the concept of lordship and authority but merely transfers it to unworthy and hostile claimants to the title. (R.E. Clements, Interpretation: Jeremiah, 68)
Gospel Application: Our worship could never be worthy of God. Our affections, devotion, love and obedience could never be worthy of God. The only hope we have of gaining an audience with God or gaining favor with God for Him to save us is if One Who is perfect, righteous, holy, obedient and worthy would intercede on our behalf. Praise God: faith in Jesus Who is perfect, righteous, holy, and obedient does this for us.
Perhaps the most difficult task for us to perform is to rely on God’s grace and God’s grace alone for our salvation. It is difficult for our pride to rest on grace. Grace is for other people—for beggars. We don’t want to live by a heavenly welfare system. We want to earn our own way and atone for our own sins. We like to think that we will go to heaven because we deserve to be there. (R.C. Sproul “Suffering and Merit” Tabletalk, Vol. 13, No. 1; February 1989, 5)
Spiritual Challenge: Take a look at where you spend your time, your money, your thoughts and dreams. In light of eternity are the objects of your love, adoration or worship worthy of your affections?
Whatever you are doing right now, if it is not going to be significant in 100 years, is not worthy of your time. — Steve Brown
I don’t think being mature Christians means getting to a place where we never deal with idolatry. Rather, maturity comes when we become aware that this is going to be a lifelong battle…and we make up our minds to engage in it on a daily basis. (Pete Wilson, Empty Promises, 196)
Having proven the worthlessness of idols, he proceeded to show the matchlessness of God. This basic strategy is useful whenever you explain why you are a Christian. Start by revealing the weakness of a post-Christian worldview and end by boasting about salvation in Jesus Christ. (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Jeremiah, 189)
Covetousness is desiring something so much that you lose your contentment in God.
The opposite of covetousness is contentment in God. When contentment in God decreases, covetousness for gain increases. That’s why Paul says in Col 3:5 (RSV) that covetousness is idolatry. “Put to death what is earthly in you; fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. It’s idolatry because the contentment that the heart should be getting from God, it starts to get from something else.” (John Piper, Future Grace, 221)
The Bible says that the rich young ruler went away feeling sorrowful. But Jesus was even more sorrowful because he knew what divine joy and divine purpose the young man was forfeiting.
His ultimate problem was not that he had riches. His problem was that he trusted in his riches. That affected what he did with his money. Because he put his faith in money instead of in God to see him through, he was not able to use his gifts the way Jesus called him to use them. And he missed out on the security and satisfaction and freedom that come from putting his faith where it really belongs. (Pete Wilson, Empty Promises, 104-5)
The remedy for idolatry is for us to get caught up in the majesty and grandeur of God, the true God, the living God, the everlasting King. An idol is a substitute, and you would never want a substitute once you have experienced the love and power of the Lord God Almighty. (Warren Wiersbe, Be Decisive, 60)
We never break the other commandments without breaking the first one. Why do we fail to love or keep promises or live unselfishly? Of course, the general answer is “because we are weak and sinful,” but the specific answer in any actual circumstance is that there is something you feel you must have to be happy, something that is more important to your heart than God himself. We would not lie unless we first had made something—human approval, reputation, power over others, financial advantage—more important and valuable to our hearts than the grace and favor of God. The secret to change is to identify and dismantle the counterfeit gods of your heart. (Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, 166)
. . . there are those for whom work has become the alpha and omega of their existence. Only in their work do they find meaning. Only in the things that their work provides do they discover personal significance. For them work is not an act of worship unto the Lord. Rather, work is what they worship, and the products of that work are the idols before which they bow. They are not working out of any sense of being created in the divine image or of producing something that will glorify God and benefit the community. They’re working because work is their only reason for being, and the money their work provides gives them the things that they crave—the symbols of prestige, the status, the preferential treatment, the shortcuts to where they want to go, the shields against life’s unpleasantness. The “best” of everything. It is purely self-oriented, and it often leads them to neglect spouse and family and leisure and worship and voluntary service. (Stuart Briscoe; Choices for a Lifetime, 138)
In other words, if created things are seen and handled as gifts of God and as mirrors of his glory, they need not be occasions of idolatry—if our delight in them is always also a delight in their Maker. (John Piper; Desiring God, 143)
Spiritual Challenge Questions:
- Can you name the idols in your life? What is there about your sinful nature that is attracted to these idols? How can those desires, be righteously fulfilled in Christ?
- Several places in God’s Word is says that those who worship idols will eventually become like them. Have you see this played out in your life? How?
- Thomas Chalmers in his Puritan message “The Explusive Power of a New Affection” maintains that we will find it difficult, if not impossible, to get rid of an old idol or sinful desire; unless or until it is replaced by a new affection that is more powerful than the lure of that old affection or idol. What do you think? How can we see an increase in our affections for Christ so that we might enjoy this expulsive power?
So What?: Our love, adoration or worship towards anything other than the real God is ultimately pointless and worthless. Only God can bring lasting meaning, satisfaction or significance. You really don’t want to invest on that which is fleeting, momentary, perishing, and transient. Do you?
God repeatedly expresses his pleasure with and delight in those who do exactly what he says. In Isa 66:1-4 true religion (“the life of God in the soul of man”) is characterized by one “who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” in contrast to those who choose their own way. (Philip Graham Ryken, Give Praise to God A Vision for Reforming Worship, 58)
I said that every Discipline has its corresponding freedom. What freedom corresponds to submission? It is the ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way. The obsession to demand that things go the way we want them to go is one of the greatest bondages in human society today. People will spend weeks, months, even years in a perpetual stew because some little thing did not go as they wished. (Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline, 111)
When people say, “I know God forgives me, but I can’t forgive myself,” they mean that they have failed an idol, whose approval is more important to them than God’s. Idols function like gods in our lives, and so if we make career or parental approval our god and we fail it, then the idol curses us in our hearts for the rest of our lives. We can’t shake the sense of failure. (Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, 149)