Don’t Love a Good Thing Less

My heart, and yours, has a tendency to love other things more than God. We have a proclivity to cherish the blessings, the good things He gives, more than Him. To fight this, we sometimes decide to abandon the good things altogether. When confronted with our idolatry, we can convince ourselves we should love a good thing less.

For example, if I sense I am loving my job or my family more than God, my reaction can be to attempt to love my job or my family less. But this is the wrong reaction. The solution to idolatry is not to love a good thing less but to love God more. C.S. Lewis, in writing about our tendency to love others more than God, stated:

It is probably impossible to love any human being simply ‘too much’. We may love him too much in proportion to our love for God; but it is the smallness of our love of God, not the greatness of our love for the man, that constitutes the inordinacy. 

God is the Creator of good things, and He has given them to us for our enjoyment. But the good things are a woeful substitute for God. Augustine frames this well for us in his Confessions: 

And I viewed the other things below You, and perceived that they neither altogether are, nor altogether are not. They are, indeed, because they are from You; but are not, because they are not what You are. For that truly is which remains immutably. It is good, then, for me to cleave unto God, for if I remain not in Him, neither shall I in myself; but He, remaining in Himself, renews all things. And You are the Lord my God, since You stand not in need of my goodness.

Good things are not “altogether are”

The good things of this world fall woefully short of the Lord who created them, as they are below Him in every way. Only God remains. Because He is complete and perfect and “in no need of our goodness,” He is able to quench our soul. We ruin ourselves when we turn God’s gifts into gods.

Good things are are not “altogether are not”

At the same time, God did create all things and will one day renew all things. He is gracious to give us blessings to enjoy, and we may worship Him as we enjoy these blessings with gratitude.