In the 60s, it was sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll.garden gnome 2

Fifty years later, sex still tops the list (that probably won’t ever change). But strutting in spots 2 and 3 are the vices American capitalism cedes around the world like headlice—sloth and junkfood.

The rest of the world has this bizarre love-hate relationship with America because we’ve perfected the art of looking happy.

But that’s the rub—we look like we’re happy. Even with an economy that is only second in depressing to the Great Depression, many are still spending, buying, shopping, consuming, binging, gorging, gaming, indulging, languishing, slumbering, and gratifying every whim.

While we’re at it, let’s just scrap that word happy because it doesn’t really define what we crave. What every human being longs for is fulfillment. Something that lasts. Everything else—sex, sloth, and self-indulgence—is cotton candy on the tongue.

We’ve bought the lies and settled for the quick fixes and temporary orgasmic satisfaction because we think fulfillment doesn’t exist, that it’s as fantastic as fairies or a fabrication devised by religious fools.

Truth is, God designed us with a cut-out in our soul. We can spend our entire life trying to fill this space with sex, adventure, money, power, relationships, scholarship, adrenalin, alcohol, food,…you get my point. It’s like trying to stick a square peg in a round hole.

None of it works. None of it fits. Not even the perfect spouse or the best behaved child. Not the dream job or dream house. Not a vacation or vocation. Not service or sacrifice.

I never used to take the first two Commandments very seriously since I don’t own an idol, statue, or even a garden gnome for that matter. I have no glowing pictures of Jesus. No shrines. No candle-laden altars.

I thought “You shall not bow down to an idol” was meant for those ignorant –ites of the Old Testament (Amlekites, Perizzites, Jebusites, etc.) who sacrificed their first born children to handmade images.

Bunch of pagans.

Then God revealed to me the “gods” I had fashioned for myself—every other human being on the planet. My idolatry came in the form of seeking approval and validation from others. I used spiritual terms like “peacemaker”, “helpmate”, and “servant” to mask my sin. Bottom line, other people’s opinion of me counted more than God’s.

Now who’s the pagan?

I get it now why God puts these as Number One and Two on his You Need to Do List. Because it is so easy for any of us to worship something or someone other than God. For us, it’s as easy as breathing.

God’s solution to idol worship? Smash them to pieces. Grind them to dust. Burn them to cinders. I don’t think God wants me to perform a genocide with every person I feel the need to please. Instead, I need to burn into clarity the fact that other’s approval of me will never satisfy me.

I have a hole in my heart and the only thing–the only one–who can fill it is God.

What’s your idol of preference?

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