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The Fine Line Separating Intimacy and Idolatry


In Matthew 13:44 we read, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” All throughout the gospels, Jesus refers to finding or following Him as a surrender of everything else. We leave our nets, we lay down our lives, we sell it all and buy the field. He becomes our treasure.


A treasure is anything you assign great value to

believing that it will satisfy and fulfill you. 


A treasure is anything you assign great value to believing that it will satisfy and fulfill you. Think Indiana Jones. It’s the grand pursuit that drives the waking hours of your day; the thing you are searching for and believe that once you find, “everything will be okay.” Could it be that we're unhappy because we're chasing treasures that will never deliver what they promise? Is it possible that, like Harrison Ford, the thing we are chasing as our treasure is really nothing more than a lifeless idol?


An idol could be defined as anything other than God Himself as

the source of your happiness, security, contentment or peace.


An idol could be defined as anything other than God Himself as the source of your happiness, security, contentment or peace. Let that sink in. When we look to a job, a relationship, approval, our following on social media, success, finances, a house, or car to be the source of our happiness, we chase a treasure that will only ever be an idol that will leave us wanting. Let me take it one step further. Did you know that we can just as easily make an idol out of things that don't show up on any materialistic radar because they seem so godly?


We can make an idol out of our kids.


We can make an idol out of our marriages.


We have Christian idols; idols of morality and behavior and image.


Did you know you can fill your calendar with reading the Bible, going to church, listening to podcasts, going to Christian events, and still lose the treasure of intimacy with Christ? Sadly, there are many who seek Jesus not as their treasure, but so that He will give them some other treasure. I know. I used to live there, believing that if I only followed all of ‘the rules’ God laid out in the Bible, that He’d give me approval from others, success in my work, lasting romance…you name it.


I didn’t realize that I’d confused intimacy and an idol. In God’s goodness, He refused to grant me a shallow substitute, but instead He pursued my heart, until I could see how deeply it longed for only Him.


When anything other than Jesus becomes your treasure, nothing will ever satisfy. When Jesus is all you seek, nothing can take your joy. 


When anything other than Jesus becomes your treasure, nothing will ever satisfy. When Jesus is all you seek, nothing can take your joy. Listen to these words from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Church at Rome:


“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:18-19


Let it go deep. There is a glory awaiting on the other side of the ‘here and now’ that is so grand, it cannot even be placed on the same comparative scale as our present circumstances. And we’ve gotta know that ‘the glory that will be revealed’ is not getting our own mansion in heaven on a lawn of gold bricks. There's a reason why when we get to heaven, we come and we take all of our crowns and lay them at His feet. It’s because the treasure that we've waited for all of our lives to behold is nothing other than Jesus Himself. All of creation is groaning as in the pains of childbirth…for HIM. Right now, there are scores of people in our own hometown that homesick, waiting in eager anticipation for ‘the children of God to be revealed.’ They may not know it yet, but their souls stand on tiptoe, desperately yearning to see sons and daughters who truly know God and seek Him as their everything, and not merely as a path to some other reward.


Augustine said it well when he stated, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.” We may not even realize it at this moment, but all we’re truly longing for isn’t a promotion, or a financial breakthrough, or whatever else we find ourselves fretting over during our waking hours. The treasure you and I yearn for is JESUS. And if you have Jesus and you never see another treasure in this lifetime, goodness gracious, you have JESUS! Forever, “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.” 


I want to encourage you, if you have Jesus and yet find the ebbs and flows of your joy jerking you around like the whiplash of a roller coaster, stop for just a moment and ask two questions: 1) Is there anywhere I’m holding onto a superstition of bad theology? 2) Is there anywhere I’m chasing an idol as if it’s my treasure? Wherever it is, give your soul permission to let it go this very moment and buy the field, friend!


Adapted from En(d)titlement, © 2023 by Chuck Ammons. Available on www.amazon.com



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