The Lord’s biggest competition

“My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and they have hewed out for themselves cisterns–broken cisterns, which can hold no water.”  Jeremiah 2:13

You make a very small god, friend.

An executive with Wal-mart  made an observation before a group of businesspeople recently  that has stuck with me.  “You know who our biggest competition is?”  People suggested Target, K-Mart, Best Buy, the, malls, and such.

“Dollar stores,” he said.  “That’s what Wal-mart started out to be and they are now eating our lunch.”

Well. Makes sense.  Those little stores are everywhere.

You know who God’s biggest competition is in this world?

It’s not Islam’s Allah. It’s not any of the big religious alternatives. Not Buddhism, Hinduism, and not animism.

The biggest competition of the living God in this world is personal idolatry.


People are worshiping themselves, their own bodies, appetites, personal needs, their wants and desires and ambitions.  Everything else is secondary.  They sacrifice everything else for their bodies, for their appearance, for their careers, for their wants.

They choose cars and houses and jobs for “how this will make me feel about myself.”  Their mantra is “I want to feel good about myself.”  That’s how they choose hair styles, clothing, schools for their children, clubs, hobbies, and leisure activities. They choose churches and religions that make them feel good about themselves.

They choose gods the same way.

You will not be surprised to learn they are finding  such gods inadequate.

Scripture says it from one end to the other, that when we worship vanity (nothingness) we become vain (empty). “They went far from me and walked after emptiness and became empty” (Jeremiah 2:5).

Jeremiah 2:13 is as graphic a depiction of this generation–and every generation of fallen humanity–as we will find anywhere.

It was around 600 B.C.  Through His prophet Jeremiah, God told Israel they had done two extremely foolish things:  a) They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and b) They have hewn out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, unable to hold water.

How foolish is that! There is no more graphic way to put it than this.

We have a thirst within us. We all do.  “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2).

The Lord is what–whom–we are thirsting for.  “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters!  You who have no money, come and buy and eat.  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?” (Isaiah 55:1-2).

The Lord Jesus told the woman at Jacob’s well, “Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again.  But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).

Later, Jesus called to the crowd, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water!'” (John 7:37-38).

Nothing else satisfies than the Father who is our Fountain of Living Waters.

How’s it going for you, friend?  Are you satisfied?

Getting what you need out of the things you are doing?

Those little goals–working out and body-shaping, trips to the salon and cosmetic surgeries unending, running and swimming and competitions about iron men, on and on it goes.  Spending ourselves in huge debt in order to amass things, material possessions, in the vain hope that the insatiable craving down inside will be satisfied.  In academia, it’s earning degrees on top of degrees.  In business, it’s a relentless drive to success, to best the competition, to pile up huge bank accounts, to be known and if not admired, then feared.

But nothing works.  Nothing else satisfies.

It’s never enough.

It’s not a new phenomenon, you’ll be interested to know.  Here’s what Scripture says:

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetites (literally, belly), and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. (Philippians 3:18-19). 

Their god is their appetite.  Don’t skip over that lightly.  It’s the clue to personal idolatry.  One’s appetite calls the shots.  I want this. I want to do that.  I don’t want that.

We make very poor gods.

The Fountain of Living Waters is waiting, friend.  Come and drink your fill.

3 thoughts on “The Lord’s biggest competition

  1. Psalm 42:1-2 has always been special to me for my own life as a deterrent to wanting more and more. It resonates even more in a different way because of having lived in a part of Africa where poverty was so prominent. They were poor, but the Lord said, “Come, all you who thirst who have no money, buy and eat. Buy wine and milk without money and without cost. . .” A dear friend who gave generously to send mission teams, including himself, to Africa, was asked “What difference does it make that you went there? The people are still mired in poverty!” He replied, “Yes, but those who heard the gospel and accepted Jesus as Savior now will have a home in Heaven where everything is perfect–no poverty and all their desires provided.” They, like each of us, have come to the “Fountain of Living Waters.”

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