1. Being Around the Things of God Is Not Enough

The logical link between the two is easily discerned: all the runners run but not all win; so also, all the Israelites experienced the blessings of the exodus and divine provision, but not all made it to the Promised Land. Just as in the previous passage the Corinthians were to interpret their situation in the light of the analogy of the athletic games, in this passage Paul uses the Israelites’ experience of redemption, idolatry, and destruction as a prism through which the Corinthians are to understand their own situation. — Brian Rosner

2. Don’t Give Your Heart to Idolatry

Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” — Isaiah 44:15-17 (ESV)

Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. — Jeremiah 2:12-13 (ESV)

Why do we ever fail to love or keep promises or live unselfishly? Of course, the general answer is “because we are weak and sinful,” but the specific answer is that there is always something besides Jesus Christ that we feel we must have to be happy, that is more important to our hearts than God, and that is enslaving the heart through inordinate desires. For example, we would not lie unless first we had made something— human approval, reputation, power over others, financial advantage—more important and valuable to our hearts than the grace of God. So the secret to change is always to identify and dismantle the basic idols of the heart. Idols ultimately are cruel to the heart of the one who offers us so much and at such infinite cost. Realize that when you pine after idols (in your anger, fear, despondency), you are saying: “Lord, you are not enough. This is more beautiful, fulfilling, and sweet to my taste than you. You are negotiable, but this is not. Despite all you’ve done for me, I will only use you as long as you help me get this. You are negotiable, but this is not. You haven’t done enough for me—if you don’t help me have this, I will discard you — Tim Keller

…that [the] most basic question which God continually poses to each human heart: Has something or someone besides Jesus the Christ taken title to your heart’s trust, preoccupation, loyalty, service, fear, and delight? It is a question bearing on the immediate motivation of one’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings. In the Bible’s conceptualization, the motivation question is the lordship question: who or what “rules” my behavior, the Lord or an idol? — David Powlison

3. Keep Giving Your Heart Wholly to God

Chris Daukas

Chris grew up in a moral home, but didn’t find the grace of Christ until he was a sophomore in college. He began to devour the Word and was soon helping to lead bible studies, outreaches, and worship at church. He married his beautiful wife, Tara, in the summer of 2002.

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