What in your life gives you the most joy? What in your life provides you the most security? What in your life brings you the most fulfillment? If the answer is anything other than Jesus, you are guilty of idolatry! Tim Keller, in his book Counterfeit Gods, has given an excellent definition of what an idol is. He writes, “It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give. A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.”
In Isaiah 40-46, the One True God puts the false idols of the pagan nations on trial to try and prove that they are as powerful and magnificent as Himself. Isaiah 41:29 paints a vivid picture of the futility and emptiness of idolatry. It reads, “Behold, they (idols) are all a delusion; their works are nothing; their metal images are empty wind.”
The first thing we see is that idols promise false joy and security. They are a delusion, which fools or deceives us into thinking that they will provide the fulfillment and satisfaction for which our souls desperately crave. The writer of Hebrews warns us as to how deceitful sin truly is in Hebrews 3:12-13 where he writes, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Sin is deceitful. It is tricky. It is an enemy that will promise joy, excitement, and purpose but in the end only hardens you in rebellion against God.
Secondly, the idols to which we so eagerly cling are like empty wind. Think about that imagery. Wind is powerful. It causes things to move. It can blow the trees. It is a powerful force that brings about change. But empty wind is useless. It promises power but always comes up short. That is what idolatry does to us. It promises us power and change but always comes up short.
In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is often portrayed like the wind that blows and brings life to dead places. In contrast to dead lifeless idols, the Holy Spirit breathes His powerful life into hearts when He causes us to be born again. Jesus tells us in John 3:8. “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
In addition to causing us to be born again or regenerated, the Holy Spirit also works in our lives to grow us to be more like Jesus. He is not empty wind, but the only source of power and vitality in our lives.
Instead of finding joy, satisfaction, and security in false idols that fools us and come up with empty promises like the lifeless wind, you should place all of your hope in Jesus. Jesus alone should be the only source of your joy. Jesus alone should be the only fountain of your satisfaction. Jesus alone should be the only foundation for your security. He always comes through on His promises! Listen to the amazing words of Jesus in John 15:11: “ These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Jesus alone promises overflowing joy. Our idols only promise false happiness and flit away like the empty wind. Would you find your joy, security, and fulfillment in Christ alone today!