I heard something interesting from the honorable Beth Moore today. She said, “If we don’t love God, we’ll love anything.”
It’s probably no surprise to you that I think she’s right. All people are created with a God-shaped hole in their emotional hearts. God did this on purpose because He desires a relationship with us (and, by the way, a relationship with Him is in our best interest). He gave us the internal drive to seek Him out by making it painful and unbeneficial for us to do life without Him.
We may not recognize them as such, but all the pangs of dissatisfaction, loneliness and despair that we experience on a daily basis are symptoms of a God-void. And because these emotions are painful, we’ll do anything to try to eliminate them. We try to find something to cram into our hearts so we’ll feel whole. Lots of us use food. I hear some people use exercise. Others go to extremes with drugs and alcohol. Whatever can dull the pain, we use it. Most of us, however, use people. We demand that our spouses, friends and family fulfill our emotional needs.
The problem with all of these things, though, is that none of them are God. Therefore, they aren’t able to permanently satisfy; they aren’t able to completely satisfy; they aren’t able to purely satisfy.
Only a perfect God can satisfy the longing of a human heart in a broken world for a sustained amount of time. Cookies get eaten, miles are run, beers are drunk, and people disappoint us. But an unchanging God can permanently satisfy us if we let Him.
Those other avenues of fulfillment often have undesirable side effects as well. When someone looks to food for emotional fulfillment, they often throw nutrition out the window, risking their health in a myriad of ways. And, if The Biggest Loser has taught me anything, an unhealthy dependency on food also hurts your relationships with other people who love you and have to watch you kill yourself with sugar and fat. But that’s another post. I’ve heard about people who become so addicted to working out, trying to find fulfillment in physical achievements and their appearance, that it literally takes over their lives. Alcohol and drugs, even in moderate amounts, can have both side effects – they ruin your body and your relationships. When we look to people, many friendships and relationships break under the strain of being expected to do the impossible – completely fulfill.
God is the only one who is capable of permanently and completely satisfying us. He is also the only pure way to fill the God-shaped holes in our souls. If we selfishly try to force anything else in God’s spot, not only will we fail, but we will commit idolatry. Simply put, idolatry is loving anything or anyone more or in the place of God. When we try to medicate our negative emotions with food, hobbies, or people, we are making them our gods.
When you find yourself looking for love in all the wrong places, focus on loving the Lord and letting Him love you. Because “if we don’t love God, we’ll love anything.”