I Asked Jeep To Come Into My Heart

August 3, 2009

Josh Harris tells a funny and insightful story about Fat Bob, a guy who loved his yellow and black Wrangler a little too much (Stop Dating the Church, 63-64).  Robert didn’t actually ask Jeep to come into his heart, but that’s where Jeep ended up anyway.

One of the helpful things about the Fat Bob story is that it causes us to think about the danger of making an idol out of an otherwise good gift from God.  Enjoying your Jeep — or your marriage, or your kids, or a friendship, or yardwork, or a vacation, or a sport, or a good meal, etc. — isn’t sinful in itself.  So when does love become idolatry?  How can we tell if we’re enjoying a good gift from God too much?  

Augustine has probably been the most helpful to me on this point.  Speaking to God, he writes, “For a man loves you so much the less if, besides you, he also loves something else which he does not love for your sake.”  In other words, God is ultimate and is therefore worthy of our ultimate love.  If our love for anything in this world competes with or displaces our love for God, we are committing idolatry.  God’s good gifts are meant to be enjoyed not as ends in themselves but as means through which our love for him is expressed.  Admiring a snow-capped mountain, rolling on the floor with your toddler, driving with the top down on a sunny day, cutting into a juicy steak — every good gift of God is meant to serve as a runway from which our hearts take off in thanksgiving and humility and praise to God.

May God give us undivided hearts, in which every good gift serves our love for him.  And so that, when good gifts are sparse, we can still say, “There is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25-26).

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