Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher and theologian once defined sin as ‘building your identity on anything besides God’. Tim Keller calls making a good thing into an ultimate thing idolatry. He also said something like;
‘Although you may read the words of the God of the Bible, believe in the God of the Bible, pray to the God of the Bible and obey the laws of the God of the Bible but your faith is found in the roots of your own identity, then what you really worship is something else.’ In other words, you may say one thing but you’re actually doing another. You say you worship God, but in reality, underneath it all, you’re actually worshipping yourself and what you can get.
That’s a sobering observation and we’d do well to carefully consider whether it is true or not in our own lives, particularly as we sincerely and honestly ask God to show us, to ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’ Ps 139:23-24
We pray such a prayer not believing that God is a bad headmaster just waiting to slap us with a ruler; we ask knowing full-well that He loves us, cherishes us and doesn’t want to see us lost to Him.
The trouble with the rich man in today’s reading from Luke, was that he never ever stopped even once in his life and asked God that same question. Or if he did, he didn’t like the answer and continued on worshipping himself and his own devices as the majority do today still.
But the truth is, Jesus doesn’t want any of us to fall into that trap, that snare which would condemn us to eternal life without Him. His love for us goes way beyond what we can ever conceive, and He wants us with Him when we die.
What an amazing God we serve who is so intimately involved with us. Words simply fail us to describe how wonderful a place that is for us.