Episode 1. Girls and Guys
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The mistake that so many of God’s people make, is that they think that their relationships with other people can fill the deep void within, a void that’s been designed so that it can only be …
The mistake that so many of God’s people make, is that they think that their relationships with other people can fill the deep void within, a void that’s been designed so that it can only be filled by God Himself. And so they spend their lives getting second best, when all along, God’s very best is staring them right in the face.
Over the last week we’ve been chatting about laying hold of God’s very best for our lives because there are so many imposters out there that claim to be able to give us what we’re looking for, that they lead us astray. An imposter is never as good as the real thing.
I remember once I was travelling in South Africa and I wanted to bring home a special gift for my daughter. I was shopping in a mall in Pretoria and I wandered into a handbag store. I spotted a Louis Vuitton handbag and I thought she would really, really like that. Yeah it was pricey but I thought no she would really like it so I bought it for her.
I was right, she loved it but about eighteen months later the catch that keeps the bag closed came apart. Well not a problem, I thought, this is a Louis Vuitton handbag. So I looked it up on the internet and found the authorised Louis Vuitton repairer here at home and took the handbag into them.
The lady behind the counter took one look at it and she informed me that it was a fake, a knock off and as much as she’d like to help me she was unable to do so. Well I was pretty angry I have to tell you, not with her but with the person who sold the bag to me because I quizzed them over and over again to make sure it was the real thing. And that’s the thing with fakes, they look real, they pretend to be real but they simply can’t deliver what you’re looking for.
I remember when I was studying at Bible College, a good many years ago, one of our lecturers, Dr Barry Chant, gave a class on the things that lead ministers astray, that get them caught up in sin that ends up tearing their ministry apart. And he said something along these lines.
It comes down basically to three things; girls or in the case of women guys, gold and glory. Those are the top three things that lead men and women of God who are called to ministry, astray. That’s always stuck with me – girls, gold and glory. Pretty simple really and when you think about it, it applies not just to people in ministry, it applies to all of Gods people because those three things, girls or guys, gold and glory are pretty much the three main categories of idolatry today.
In this day and age most of us don’t think much about idols. In western countries we don’t see many physical idols and in eastern countries where there are so many religions that use idols routinely, you get to the point of being oblivious to them. I know when I first started travelling to India regularly the number of idols I saw hit me in the face but now I almost don’t notice them.
An idol is an imposter, it’s anything that we set up as an alternative to the one true God, the One who sent Jesus, His Son, to die for you and me. And we take these imposters and we worship them as though they’re real, they’re not of course but we treat them as though they are and we worship them and we sacrifice our lives to them.
So let’s start off by talking about this whole ‘girls and guy’s’ thing. It’s one of the most natural things on the planet, girl meets boy, they fall in love and they want to spend the rest of their lives together. And if you’ve been through that you’ll know how compelling and intoxicating romance is. It plays to our emotional desires and to our physical desires and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Until we start imagining that this is it, this is what I’ve always been looking for and we start expecting our mate to make us happy.
We start expecting this one relationship to give us all the contentment and joy and fulfilment that we’ve been looking for for all our lives. And then all of a sudden we’re heaping expectations on this girl or guy that they simply can never meet up to. The truth of it is my wife, as wonderful as she is, simply cannot fill the void in me that only God can fill. And if she looks at me to do that for her she too is going to be sadly disappointed.
Remember the first Commandment in the Ten Commandments, Exodus chapter 20 verses 2 and 3:
I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, you shall have no other gods before me.
The moment we take something, even something as sublime and as wonderful as this pinnacle of human relationships, the exclusive relationship of one man and one woman in the lifelong relationship of marriage and we elevate that above God then we’re committing idolatry and that goes straight to the second Commandment, Exodus chapter 20 verses 4 and 5:
You shall not make for yourself an idol whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above or is in the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them and worship them for I am the Lord your God and I am a jealous God.
Of course some people take this one step further, they decide to focus on the physical side of this boy/ girl thing or into same sex relationships and end up turning sex into their idol as though somehow sexual gratification will give them what they’re looking for, that too becomes idolatry, Colossians chapter 3 verses 5 and 6:
Put to death therefore whatever in you is earthly. Fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire and greed which is idolatry. On account of these things the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient.
Listen up, it is good for a man and a woman to fall in love and to give themselves completely to one another for the rest of their lives, that’s certainly God’s plan but when we take this good thing and we elevate it and place it above God or when we pervert this good plan and sleep around hoping to find gratification, it’s just like that fake Louis Vuitton hand bag I was telling you about earlier. Eventually it will break and we’re left with nothing because there’s a hole inside you and a hole inside me that only God can fill, it’s just the way we’ve been made.
In the long run idols, imposters, as attractive as they may seem can never deliver what we’re looking for, as attractive as they may appear.
You know I love my wife dearly and I remember when we were courting and that feeling of thinking, ‘This is it, this is what I’ve been looking for’ and I must confess, in those days, I drifted away from God a bit, so intoxicating was this romance thing. It doesn’t take long for reality to sink in, the kids, the mortgage, the pressures of work and I came to a point where I realised that if I was expecting her to make me happy I was going to be sadly disappointed, that’s not after all her job.
So I set about going deeper in my relationship with God and what I found is that when I’m close to God I make a much better husband. When I get up in the morning and I pray and I draw on God’s strength and I’m filled with His Holy Spirit and His Word every day, hey I make a much, much, much better husband than when I neglect my relationship with God.
When I do that, when I neglect God I become scratchy and sensitive and difficult to live with, I become less forgiving, I’m a much worse husband, it’s the way it works for me, I’m guessing it’s probably the way it is for you too. Once that God sized void, that emptiness inside us is filled by the only one who can fill it then, all of a sudden, His goodness overflows out of us which is exactly how Jesus said it would work right? John chapter 7 verses 37 and 38:
Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and let the one who believes in me drink and as the Scriptures have said, ‘out of the believers heart shall flow rivers of living water’.
Remember idolatry doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter how good the thing or person looks like, how good they are, you elevate them above God and they become an idol, an imposter that simply cannot deliver what you’re expecting of them.