‘Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth’ (1 Corinthians 13:6)
Of all the ‘truth’ that we can rejoice in, God must come first. I know it sounds obvious to say that, as Christians, we are to love God by rejoicing in Him, but we all need encouragement. To rejoice in evil over God is idolatry. Man often substitutes other things for God. We read in Romans:
‘Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles… They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.’ (Romans 1:22-23, 35)
We, too often, exchange the truth of God and the worship of God for rejoicing in created things. All of creation is God’s gift to us, however, if we are not careful, we can seek to find our security, satisfaction and status from created things and this is idolatry; idolatry is the substitution of the true God.
Here are some good created things that can be so celebrated that they become idols: A political party, leader or ideology, a relationship, family, children, education, cars, houses, a job, money, travel, technology, films and series, music, health, food … these are good but they can easily substitute God as our source of greatest joy. This has a massive bearing on our witness: to share the good news of Jesus is to seek to replace idols with the true God. Bruce Milne writes:
‘The world is not neutral, but is filled with idols, i.e. false objects of worship. These may be human leaders, political ideologies, social classes or groups, human thought systems, even demonic agencies. We are called to challenge these usurpers and to confront these false gods in the name of the true and living God. This involves spreading the knowledge of God throughout the world, both geographically and culturally, by our prayers, the investment of our resources and our personal witness.’ (Milne, Bruce. Know the Truth)
It’s love for God to rejoice in Him as our ultimate truth; however, it’s also love for others; if we are not fighting the idols in our own lives, how can we hope to show the greater worth of God to those around us? If all we talk about is family, Netflix, holidays… how are we any different from anyone else?
Let’s seek to put all of our idols in their place through worship. A daily act of worship in which we meet with God, learn about Him and praise Him in response is minimal. Let's ‘rejoice in what is true’ - let's rejoice in our great God. May we, like Paul, learn to say:
‘What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.’ (Philippians 3:8)