September 09, 2020

God at the Center

Psalm 115:1-8

Those who make [idols] will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.

—  Psalm 115:8

I generally have several “to do” lists, and each one deals with a different area of my life. There’s a “work” list, a “home maintenance” list, a “church” list, and so on. I find these lists helpful for managing my life. But I’ve also found that these lists can easily distort not only my life but also me.

The psalmist says that when we set up idols in our lives, we become like them. An idol can be anything in our lives that becomes more important to us than God is (or should be).

When my lists become too important, I see everything and every person in my world as a task that needs to be crossed off the list. That really distorts the meaning of loving God and my neighbor and caring for people in need. If all they are is an item on my list, I am not loving or caring for them at all. And just as lists are written on two-dimensional sheets of paper, I begin to become a shallow, two-dimensional person.

There are hundreds of “things” that call out to us, saying, “Look! Pay attention to me! I’ll make you happy.” But they are all lying. Money and possessions turn our hearts toward “cold, hard cash.” Sexual pursuits reduce people and relationships to fleeting pleasures. Following all the “right” rules makes us judgmental slaves to a law when God wants us to have spiritual freedom.

We can find true, full life when God alone is at the center.

Lord, help me see the idols and distortions in my life, and grant me the grace and wisdom to cast them aside so that only you are at the center of my life. Amen.

About the author — Syd Hielema

Syd Hielema serves the Christian Reformed Church in North America as director of a ministry project called Connections II. He has also served with Faith Formation Ministries, as a professor of theology and youth ministry at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa, and as a chaplain and professor at Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario. Syd has been married to Evelyn for 43 years, and they enjoy bird watching near their home in Ancaster.

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