Centering our lives around [Jesus] in every aspect is how we were created to be. 

It was April 2020. The weather was beautiful. Families were out walking. The birds were chirping. Summer was coming. 

You needed toilet paper, but every single grocery store was sold out. Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, and the local mom and pop grocery stores didn’t have it. People lined up for the chance to get it, and the deficit of the essential product made the news. In the midst of the pandemic, a minor crisis ensued, it was all centered around toilet paper. 

The crisis didn’t make sense. If people just purchased what they needed, there wouldn’t have been a problem. There was enough for everyone, but people became obsessed. People saw everyone around them obsessing over the product, so they hoarded it. I’m sure you can recall seeing images on social media of people buying enough toilet paper to supply an army. For a hot minute, it became what everyone was talking about. Indeed, it became the center of some people’s lives.

As ridiculous as it sounds, toilet paper became an idol. It consumed people’s thoughts, words, and actions. And yet as we move to a more serious discussion about idolatry, you may try to justify your own idols as much as people worshiped toilet paper for a few weeks. It would be equally as ridiculous. Though our idolatry is probably not centered around toilet paper, we all have that “thing” that consumes us. 

Idols are often good things that take the place of supreme things. Let me give you another example that may be more controversial than toilet paper: sports. Don’t believe me? Look around at how people’s jobs, schedules, children, conversations, and passion have all become centered around a little brown or white ball. Every weekend, we worship at the temple of human achievement. We sing songs of praise honoring a school, team, or nation. We perform weekly rituals in order that our teams might win. We spend exorbitant amounts of money so that our teams might have a better chance of succeeding. We partake in the bread of entertainment and the cup of competition. We have taken what is good and turned it into our new gospel. It has taken the supreme position in many of our lives that only God can truly occupy, and our relationships with God will be devastated if it continues.

This same kind of idolatrous obsession happened with the Israelites. They got distracted and became consumed with golden figures, hunger, boredom, and not getting what they wanted when they wanted it. It devastated their relationship with God. 

Idolatry has a way of creeping in without you even knowing. The desire of our hearts and the center of our focus constantly need to be in check. Prioritizing and pursuing a relationship with Jesus should be our focus. Centering our lives around him in every aspect is how we were created to be. 

Sports, hobbies, family, and friends are all gifts. They can be enjoyed without guilt, as they were created by a good God who desires joy for His people. The danger exists when these gifts no longer become our hobby and start to become our god. As a final thought, let me share with you the words of God himself. Jesus challenges us to have this type of reckless abandon when we pursue God and his will: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44).

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