Summary: There is danger in searching for fulfillment in the things you create because those things can become your idol.
What If They’re Wrong Series Exodus 20:4-6
"The Search For Fulfillment”
My wife and I have some friends named *Bob & Sara*.
They are multimillionaires.
They weren’t always millionaires.
In fact, they grew up on the south side of town; the poorest part of the city.
Bob determined at an early age that living in poverty wasn’t for him and he was going to do something about it.
So he went to school and earned a PhD in psychology.
Almost immediately after graduation he became a professor at a prominent university.
He also started a company with two other men that specialized in "honesty" testing for employers to administer to prospective employees.
As a matter of fact, Bob wrote the very first test ever used for this purpose.
Life was good for Bob.
He was an influential professor, he owned a prosperous company; he was in demand by lots of other organizations because of his innovative work in the field of "honesty" testing.
But something was lacking in Bob’s life.
One day he said to me, "Even though life was busy and I could have had anything I wanted, something was missing. I was looking for something, but didn’t know what exactly I was looking for. The big house, the manicured yard, the Mercedes, the Rolex watch, all the material things I accumulated didn’t fill the void in my life. I was often the center of attention, and I was the center of attention in my own life. But something was still missing. I remained unfulfilled."
We are in the second week of a series called "What If They’re Wrong?"
In this series we’re taking a close look at the Ten Commandments and comparing what God says with what our culture says.
People accept as truth lots of what our culture says without getting all the facts.
The fact is that our culture would have us believe that we can find fulfillment through a variety of means.
You can find fulfillment through relationships, through your children, through your job, through your charity work, through your material possessions, through your hobbies - through just about anything if you devote yourself completely to the object of your desire.
God says there is danger in searching for fulfillment in the things you create.
There’s danger because these things can easily become your idols.
What exactly is an idol?
The dictionary says that an idol is "an image of a god, used as an object or instrument of worship."
It also says that an idol is "any object of ardent or excessive devotion or admiration."
I want you to notice a key word in verse 4: "make."
God says, "You shall not make for yourself an idol..."
I know some folks that don’t have any kind of figurines in their home because they read things into this passage.
The passage says doesn’t say you can’t have figurines or pictures of God’s creation; it says don’t make idols.
Just because you have some ceramic birds fluttering around your house doesn’t make them an idol.
Making an idol is an act of the will.
When anything becomes the object of excessive devotion or admiration in our lives, it becomes our idol.
Most of us don’t have any problem not worshiping birds.
The problem for us is those other things we make our idols.
I want to name a few for you.
You might have heard some of these before; you might even have some you can add to the list:
Cars, sports and sports stars, houses, yards, computers (including Nintendo, Sega and the such and the internet), spouses, children, parents, work, charities, movies and movie stars (including t.v.), music and musicians.
There are probably lots of others I haven’t covered.
There are some we joke about.
But there is one idol I didn’t mention.
It’s an idol we seldom think about.
It’s the most dangerous kind of idol simply because we don’t look at it as an idol.
That idol is SELF.
Lots of people idolize themselves and never give it a thought.
Mohammed Ali is a prime example, even though I think some of it might have been put on.
You might remember his slogan, "I am the greatest."
You might ask how it’s possible for "self" to become our idol.
It’s because our sin nature is full of self.
When we look for fulfillment in what we do or what we own we have made ourselves our own idol.
We become the object of our own devotion and admiration because we boast with an attitude that says, "Look what I have done."
God says that’s dangerous.
It’s dangerous because once you begin to worship the idol of self you quickly become completely absorbed in that worship.
Your happiness and your fulfillment become the only goal.