What have you been clinging too lately? Where in your life are you currently investing your time, talent, and treasure? What you do with these three “T’s” reveals a great deal about what’s most important to you. Jonah spoke powerfully to this issue: “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (Jonah 2:8 NIV).
When we cling to anything smaller than God, we are clutching what is absolutely worthless in light of eternity. Sure, the physical things of this life might promise to meet you in your place of need, but in the end, they are never able to deliver on their promises. Did that new car really give you more confidence in life? Did that bigger house really bring you greater happiness? Did that better job really provide you a deeper sense of significance? Did cosmetic surgery really manufacture greater self-worth? I could easily compile a long list of the vacuous promises dangled before us by the world . . . but they cannot and do not deliver, because God never designed the physical world to do for us what only He can do.
God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you. (St. Augustine, Confessions)
A restless heart will never find contentment in anything smaller than God. God, who fashions the hearts of all men (Psalm 33:15), made our hearts to be restless and fretful until we find our rest in Him. Nothing in the created world is big enough to satisfy our deepest desires and redeem us from our discontent. As the wise preacher said in the book of Ecclesiastes, everything under the sun—that is, everything in the created order—is all vanity, a chasing after the wind. The world offers nothing that truly satisfies; clinging to created things is enslaving. They capture our attention, rule our hearts, and shape our lives. What was once a list of wants morphs into a list of insatiable needs that drive us to the conclusion that we simply cannot live without them.
And what we believe we cannot live without we will do anything to get. We will compromise our values. We will cut corners. We will shade the truth. We will love things and use people. We become slaves to the stuff of this world, seeking to find life in things that can only deliver death.
So . . . have you been clinging to any “worthless idols” lately?
Clinging to the Creator is freeing. He is the only place where we can find what we need and where we actually need what we find. God is gracious to leave us wanting when we are clinging to created things, because that emptiness will eventually drive us back to the only place where we can find meaning and purpose: in Jesus Christ! If God allowed the stuff of this world to satisfy us, we would only grow into a fraction of the people He is calling us to be. But God loves us too much to let anything other than Christ fill the God-sized void that is inside of all of us.
Remember, clinging to the Creator or created things is always a choice, and the choice is always ours. We can seek after and cling to all the things we think will make us happy and won’t . . . or we can seek after and cling to the only One who will: the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!