Thursday, 7 July 2011

Desiring Worthlessness, Becoming Worthless

"Thus says the LORD:
'What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?'" (Jeremiah 2:5)

In Jeremiah 2 we read the words that God called Jeremiah to proclaim to Jerusalem (verse 2), revealing the foolishness of their turning from God to idols. It is striking what He says in verse 5 about the effects of their idolatory. He says that they "...went after worthlessness, and became worthless". They set their affections on nothingness, and thus became nothing. They ran after worthless idols,and became worthless themselves.

This is a reminder that we become like what we worship. We are conformed to that which all our affections and desires are centred on. The Psalmist recognised this in Psalm 115. In verses 4-7 he recounts how the idols of the nations are mute, blind, deaf and unfeeling. He then says, "Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them." Those who set their affections on these idols become hardened to the true and living God, they become mute, blind, deaf and unfeeling themselves.

Whatever it is that holds our affections, whatever we desire above all, whatever we constantly have at the centre of our thoughts, this will end up shaping us and defining us. Henry Scougal, in his classic little book The Life of God in the Soul of Man, said these words:
Love is that powerful and prevalent passion, by which all the faculties and inclinations of the soul are determined, and on which both its perfection and happiness depend. The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love. He who loveth mean and sordid things, doth thereby become base and vile; but a noble and well-placed affection, doth advance and improve the spirit into a conformity with the perfections which it loves.

What then is the object of our love? If we recognise the truth of Jeremiah 2:5, surely we cannot stop short of having the eternal God of the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the one who holds all of our affections, desires and thoughts. He alone is the source of all that is good, therefore if we settle with anything else as the ultimate object of our love we are selling ourselves short. If we do not recognise the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord (Philippians 3:8), and treasure Him above all things we are short changing ourselves.

We cannot do this ourselves, it must be done for us. Let us pray for transformed hearts that love Jesus undividedly, that hold Him at the centre of our affections. It is only a miracle that can transform our hearts from running after worthlessness, to running after the true and living God.