Where Do You Go for Complete and Total Fulfillment?

What is an idol?

We typically think of idols like totem poles – wooden or bronze or iron statues with grotesque faces that people bow before while chanting in low, hushed tones. But the idols of today are less visible, but no less insidious.

In fact, an idol can be anything that you look to for complete and total fulfillment. It’s that thing that you look at and say, “If I could only have … or do … or be …” And one of the idols that looms the largest in our culture today is the idol of “how it should be.”

At one point or another, all of us wake up and look at our lives and think:

How did I get here? This certainly isn’t how I imagined my life turning out. In fact, it’s more than that—this isn’t how it ought to be at all! 

Whether we are thinking of our job or house or spouse or wealth, we somehow had a different dream about life than what we are living. Now there are certain schools of Christian thought out there that argue that as followers of Christ, you just need to chase that dream. Live with reckless abandon. Get out there and make it happen.

That’s probably not wrong, at least to a point. But that aggressive posture is only helpful and healthy as long as it’s a goal; many times, though, it ceases to become a goal and starts to become an idol.

That happens when you put all your stock in whatever that vision is, to the point that you feel as though you will never truly be fulfilled unless you posses _______________ . 

You fill in the blank.

But what is the antidote for such a thing? How can such an idol be smashed to bits? It’s difficult because when “how it should be” is formed into our thinking, it has happened through countless hours of daydreaming and disappointment. It has been built on the foundation of starry-eyed gazes and bitterness in equal measure.

Only the power of the gospel can send that kind of heartfelt, deeply ingrained idol reeling. Only through the Holy Spirit reminding us, over and over again, that we already have everything—every spiritual blessing in Christ—that we can be free.

The gospel gives us the ability to look at the idol of “how it should be” and say, “Enough.” Not because we are content with how little we have, but because we suddenly come to the realization of how rich we already are. May God give us grace to see the richness of what we’ve been given, and may that vision pulverize the idol of “what should be.”

Read more from Michael Kelley »

This article originally appeared on thinke.org and is reposted here by permission.