Post by the Husband
“For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,”1 Thessalonians 1:9
In the Western World, we may not bow down to little statues — but make no mistake, we have just as many idols and just as much idolatry as our friends in the East.
Idols may be represented by graven images; the false gods people worship — however, whatever we bow down to, or devote ourselves to, or become addicted to, can become an idol in our lives.
It is clear that we can’t worship an idol and the true God all at the same time.
Hence, we must “turn” away from these idols and turn “to” the living God. This means that we must direct the attention we have given to these idols toward the Lord. Whatever time, energy, and effort we have spent pursuing these gods must now be turned towards a love devotion towards our God.
I was reminded by a sermon this weekend, that in Australia, one of the biggest idols in our land is the idol of comfort. We want to be comfortable.
In fact, for many Australians, we would prefer comfort over prestige or power.
We would prefer comfort over praise from people. Sure, it’d be nice to have both, but if we had to choose, we generally would choose comfort.
This is so obvious in the way people talk.
It’s also reflected in our lifestyles and priorities.
For instance, Australians have some of the biggest houses in the world (on average). We love our homes. We love to make our homes more and more comfortable. We love building new houses and renovating old ones. We watch TV shows about how people make their houses more luxurious, how we can cook better food, and how we can live lives more comfortably.
We spend millions of dollars on interior decoration, and look forward to holidays — all in the name of comfort. We invest and save so that we have enough to be “comfortable” at retirement.
Yet, none of this was emphasised by Jesus.
He never instructed people to get comfortable. The Great Commission does not direct us to build bigger homes or more comfortable beds. There is no verse in the Bible about pursuing comfort as a goal in life. In fact, Jesus said quite the opposite. He promises persecution. He challenges people to “take up their Cross”, which has nothing to do with us being comfortable. Oh Lord, forgive us for having such an emphasis on worldly comfort.
In the pursuit of comfort, we will sacrifice time, energy and money to plan and purchase boats, couches, cars — and we’ll do everything else to maximise our super funds.
We research, discuss, and ruminate about ways to make our lives even more comfortable.
And yet Jesus said “foxes have holes”… and that He Himself was essentially homeless, moving from one place to another with no fixed address. He certainly was not pursuing comfort.
The irony though is that once we get all the comfort we have been desiring – once we reach the pinnacle of human convenience – we are left with a deep feeling of emptiness.
This idol can never provide what God provides.
God alone provides true peace and security – not merely what’s physical, but also the deep reassurance that He is in control.
Physical comfort is temporary and shallow. Monetary security is fleeting and ultimately illusionary, but His blessings are eternal, spiritual and permanent. He is the source of true comfort and rest.
Oh Lord, forgive us for worshipping the idol of comfort when you are the only one that can provide true comfort.