My two-year-old grandson has major idolatry issues … and you may have a similar problem.
When he wakes from a nap, his first word is, “Vroom!”
When he finishes a meal, he asks, “Vroom?”
If we say, “Not now,” he whimpers and softly repeats “Vroom” over and over, hoping to wear us down. (He’s doing it even as I write this post!)
And if we require him to put the vroom away, he sometimes bursts into tears to proclaim his displeasure.
I don’t know where he acquired his love for vacuum cleaners. Perhaps he likes to imitate his mommy, or see his grandma smile, or simply hear the roar of a motor. (Will it be a Harley someday?) Whatever it is, vrooms have somehow become the consuming focus of his life.
“Vrooms” in one form or another trigger most of the conflict in this world and do incalculable damage to our relationships. God warns us about them in James 4:1-2:
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”
The passions that war within us—whether we call them desires, vrooms, idols, or functional gods—come in many shapes and sizes.
- “I just want my boss to appreciate my hard work.”
- “I’m tired of being the smallest church in our district.”
- “If only my husband would talk with me.”
- “Why won’t the other girls in my class accept me?”
- “I’ve got to make varsity this year.”
- “All my friends have got Smartphones!”
- “Our marriage feels so incomplete without children.”
- “If that’s the best apology he can muster, forget it.”
What is your vroom? What’s the first thing you think about in the morning? What do you rush to do after a meal? What do you think about or ask for over and over? What do you pursue secretly? What grips your heart so strongly that you’ll ignore or hurt others to get it or to keep it?
Whatever it is, it isn’t worth it. It isn’t worth the diverted energy or perpetual dissatisfaction. It isn’t worth delaying confession or withholding forgiveness. It isn’t worth the shallow or broken relationships … with other people, or worse, with God.
Yes, it’s nice to have a good vacuum cleaner, an appreciative boss, a growing church, a spouse who knows how to communicate well, and countless other good things that can make life pleasant. It’s OK to pursue these things within reason.
But if you find some good thing in this life interfering with your worship of God, your contentment in the situation he has presently assigned to you, or your relationships with people around you, let that good thing go.
Trust God to meet your needs and give you what he knows is best for you. Worship him and him alone. Obey his call to love and serve others, not the call of some fleeting worldly passion.
And if you need someone to vacuum your floors … give me a call.
– Ken Sande
- What is your “vroom” at the moment? What’s on your mind much of the time? What do you think you need to be content? What do you want so much that you’re willing to sacrifice a relationship to get it?
- How is this desire for something in the world sapping the joy from your relationship with God and other people? (James 4:1-3)
- How can delighting in the gospel of Christ and shifting your trust, worship, and obedience back to God free you from the control of worldly desires? (see Romans 8:31-23; Philippians 4:4-9)
For a more detailed discussion on overcoming the desires that sometimes rule our hearts and damage our relationships, read Getting to the Heart of Conflict .
Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.
© 2013 Ken Sande
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