Jordan is a Christian and is also brave enough to admit that there are at least ten things he loves more than God. What is interesting about the examples he gives is that quite a lot of them are things which are good, such as friendship. Others are neutral in themselves, their goodness or badness coming from how we use, misuse or abuse them, like money or food. However, anything we love more than Our Father will almost certainly end up driving a wedge between us and God.
In the Old Testament, we find the familiar story of the Golden Calf, an idol which the wondering Israelites make and worship. (Exodus 32). They are, at least, fairly blatant about it: they ask for made-up gods. We often kid ourselves that we still worship God, because our false idols (let’s face it, that’s what they are) aren’t statues and so don’t look like idols. But they do lead us to distorting or manipulating God, and our idea of Him, so that actually what we are trying to know and love isn’t really God but is a soft option. This underlies quite a few items on the list: I love my convenient idea of how I would like God to be more than I love God.
In the New Testament, Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is that we should love Our Father with all our heart, soul and mind (Mt 22:36-40). That makes it pretty clear that nothing else should come before Him. In his encyclical, Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis points out that idols are a pretext for putting ourselves at the center of everything, of putting ourselves before God instead of putting God before everything else.
Human beings naturally seek God. If we struggle to find Him, we end up seeking substitutes because, as the Holy Father explained recently at World Youth Day, without God we feel lonely and empty. But “idolatry does not offer a journey but rather a plethora of paths leading nowhere and forming a vast labyrinth. Those who choose not to put their trust in God must hear the din of countless idols crying out: ‘Put your trust in me!’ Faith, tied as it is to conversion, is the opposite of idolatry; it breaks with idols to turn to the living God in a personal encounter. Believing means entrusting oneself to a merciful love which always accepts and pardons, which sustains and directs our lives, and which shows its power by its ability to make straight the crooked lines of our history. Faith consists in the willingness to let ourselves be constantly transformed and renewed by His call. Herein lies the paradox: by constantly turning towards the Lord, we discover a sure path which liberates us from the dissolution imposed upon us by idols.” (Lumen Fidei, 13)
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