Eden: synonymous with pleasure, provision, and peace. Eden is described as a beautiful place where Adam and Eve’s every need was met. Clearly, God desired us to enjoy His creations and find pleasure in them. However, during this time of perfection, Man was able to differentiate good things from the God who had given them.
Now, as we traverse through this broken place, full of lack, despair, and hopelessness, it is a struggle to keep the two separate in our hearts: the good things of this world from the good God who has given them to us. We worship people and things, and place God on the self because we can’t readily identify the source of our joy, comfort, and peace. We replace God with the good things we imagine are the cause of our feelings of fulfillment. This is idolatry in its most common form.
Idolatry is the most discussed issue in the Bible. Our hearts are idol factories and since the fall of Man, we have been running to something other than God to comfort and approve us. Our hearts desire to find complete fulfillment, which can never happen this side of Heaven. So, we must wait. Wait for God to redeem and fully restore us back to perfection. In the meantime, we temporarily self-medicate the pain of waiting for God’s perfection in His perfect timing. We want instant gratification. We look for our spouses, our bosses, our friends to validate and approve us. When we are stressed by life’s demands, we plan a “getaway”. When we feel alone, we text friends or engage social media. None of these things are bad. They are simply out of place. The bible tells us to cast our cares upon the Lord. To whom or what do you run to feel comfort? If it must be a glass of wine and a nice steak, you are choosing to worship a fine meal over God.
Idols have much less to do with graven images and statues and much more to do with the desires of our hearts. What’s your idol? Do you over eat? Shop? Make yourself up? Sleep around? Try to be the best at everything? Look down on the actions of others? How do you medicate the pain of living in perpetual brokenness? To whom or what do you run when it feels like God isn’t doing what you want when you want it? What makes you angry, ashamed, proud, or worried? What has taken the place of God in your heart? What is your golden calf?
God wants us to enjoy the pleasures He has given us, but we need to keep these things in their proper places. Don’t turn good things into God things. Every good and perfect gift comes from God; when you are in need of fulfillment in the form of acceptance, significance, peace, or comfort, run to the Creator, not the creation.