Flirtations With False Gods

     "Everybody's got a 
      hungry heart
      Everybody's got a
      hungry heart
      Lay down your money
      and play your part
      Everybody's got a
      hungry heart..."
     ~Bruce Springsteen~ 

Barren Wasteland

“Everybody’s got a hungry heart…” When he penned those words the poet laureate of New Jersey and Kennedy Center honoree sounded prophetic because everybody does have a hungry heart. There is a hollow place within that aches for purpose and direction.

Whether it is recognized or acknowledged, our hearts can only be fed by God, but pride and hubris clogs up our reasoning. We reject the holy and righteous God of Scripture, so attempt to fill the void by worshiping gods of our own creation; we seek hope and meaning from flawed sources.

Much like Ponce de Leon’s fruitless quest for the mythical fountain of youth, humanity is on a bankrupt pilgrimage to discover peace in a barren wasteland. On a societal basis we routinely bow down to the idols of consumerism, convenience and celebrity.

Consumerism is the number one false god of our culture.  From the cradle onward we are indoctrinated into the raw deception of buying our way to happiness.
Consumerism is the number one false god of our culture. From the cradle onward we are indoctrinated into the raw deception of buying our way to happiness.

Consumerism

The mantra of consumerism is manifested in our breakneck rush to accumulate possessions on top of possessions on top of possessions.  Enough never seems to be enough so people scrimp, save and forfeit relationships to purchase trinkets and things that will be discarded, or to drive the latest flashy model whose final destiny will be a scrapheap.

Stress and tension dominates many homes because the false god of consumerism demands its tithe of debt, debt, debt.  To keep up culturally-correct appearances people maintain a debt-ridden lifestyle that inflates their ego and makes them feel important.  

False gods have no mercy so it is incredibly easy to be devoured by consumerism.  We can be consumed by our conspicuous consumption; we invest our time, energy and money in earthly treasures that will rust, fade, get broken or be lost and forgotten; we bop from mall to mall gleefully singing the snappy jingles because we are deceived by the high priestly advertising gurus.

Western culture habitually uses and abuses a disproportionate share of the earth’s resources; in our affluence we need to revisit the message of Jesus when he preached passionately about “treasures in heaven” and “the lilies of the field”.

Like the river, do you chart paths of least resistance in your life?

See results without voting

Convenience

The false god of convenience is subtle.  It fuels and is dependent on consumerism; the ease at which it creeps up on us to shape our perspective is alarming.  In its service we rapidly learn how to justify every aspect of its demands on our lives.  No acquisition is ever unnecessary; however, just because we can purchase the latest new and improved gadget does not mean that we should.

Have you ever noticed how quickly we are willing to jettison our values when they become inconvenient?  For example, do we value human life?  Though the numbing horror of abortion and euthanasia belies this fact, as civilized people we do value human life except when it becomes inconvenient by imposing itself on our inbred selfishness.  Then we play a smoke and mirrors game with word definitions and scientific facts while we kneel down before the altar of convenience.  

Our worship of convenience is also obvious in other areas: We lie or spin facts whenever it is inconvenient to be forthright and honest; we covet whenever it is inconvenient to work hard; we hoard whenever it is inconvenient to share; we munch on junk food whenever it is inconvenient to eat healthy; we skip church whenever it is inconvenient to attend; we cut corners and compromise whenever it is inconvenient to stand firm for what we believe.

Like a meandering river, we chart paths of least resistance.  We need to be reminded that Jesus was talking about “counting the cost” when he said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

On September 6, 1997 thousands of mourners lined the route of Princess Diana's funeral procession.
On September 6, 1997 thousands of mourners lined the route of Princess Diana's funeral procession.
We are constantly on the search for a savior to rise up from among us.
We are constantly on the search for a savior to rise up from among us.

Celebrity

Our devotion to the false god of celebrity is self-evident in the deification of cultural icons. We even have a highly rated television show to manufacture the next American Idol because apparently there can never be enough gods or goddesses.

Consider the feeding frenzy that takes place whenever a celebrity dies. It becomes like a three-ring circus with fans swooning and clamoring for attention. The dead one is remembered through a prism of perfection; oft-times religious verbiage is invoked and saintlike status is inferred.

Prime examples of the hoopla mourning can be found in the deaths of Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Princess Diana and Michael Jackson; the manic eruption of emotion is exactly the same each time. Crowds gather for days and weeks; people disrupt their lives and are absorbed in sorrow of a magnitude that ought to be reserved for those we actually know and love. Grief is normal and natural but the near-hysteria displayed at the death of a celebrity speaks volumes about the basic emptiness in people’s lives.

Or consider President Obama. He is referred to as a rock star and stirs up euphoria in the masses; he is described as a transformational figure and in more than one forum has been granted the halo of a messiah. Seemingly seasoned commentators are swept up in the excitement of style over substance.

Without a doubt, a contributing factor in his ascendency to the Oval Office is the media generated celebrity culture. We constantly search for a savior among us; we look to the created instead of the Creator, believing that somehow wealth, privilege and celebrity is insulation from the universal fragility of being human.

We need a touch of reality: Regardless of position, achievement or fame in human circles “God is no respecter of persons” because “there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

We make a fatal error when we elevate mere humans to lofty positions of grandeur. There is a great lesson we never seem to learn and apply; death relentlessly tracks every one down. All the wealth, power, influence and worship garnered by celebrity will never allow anyone to escape the grim reaper.

Priceless Treasure

The deep-seated hunger of humanity has not been sated by our endless flirtations with idolatry.  The false gods of consumerism, convenience and celebrity make futile promises which cannot silence the growling in our hearts.

What is offered by those idols is at best fleeting and vacuous, at worse, hurtful and self-destructive.  We cry and mutter about the lack of morality, yet we worship at stagnant altars that have no moral absolutes; our moral code has been written by the shifting sand prophets of greed and avarice.  

In the pursuit of peace and purpose, we disregard God’s provision; it is the priceless treasure which is much closer than we think.  We have cast it aside and trampled upon it; we’ve misused and misrepresented it; we’ve made it nearly unrecognizable, but truth remains unchanged.  Jesus of Nazareth said: “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry.”

Only Jesus Christ can satisfy everybody’s hungry heart.

More by this Author

  • God's Bull's-eye
    45

    God has a mark for each of us to hit. This essay explores that from the context of Scripture. It offers much encouragement to be courageous and proceed forward in the process of discipleship.

  • A Perplexing Question
    35

    Society is fragmented. We divide into tribal camps, and Christianity has proven it is not above the fray. This essay is a reality check for the church, asking the question: When will Christ-followers be obedient and...

  • Daring Adventure Or Nothing
    13

    Helen Keller overcame tremendous disabilities to live a life that was a daring adventure. This essay is an inspirational look at her life, and presents lessons we can learn and apply.


Comments 35 comments

RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

Ken,

I cannot help but agree with all you said. I was looking for some paragraph that I could at least question to diminish the pain of this truth. But, with each paragraph was even more truth. Alas, I had to accept the fact that we are indeed, a nation in search of a savior with the SAVIOR in our midst.

Thank you for sharing the gospel truth!

Forever His,


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Ken, this was a very good article. Generally people do try to feel good with all those things you listed but the bottom line is we need to quit looking around and get on our knees and look up. That is the only true peace. The rest is just temporary.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA

While this may not be a popular comment, I think of how the Pope is idolized also...not only him, but the Catholic Church decides who is canonized as a saint...based on works and those who are deemed more holy than others...so much so, saints become mediators between man and God. If all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, which the Bible says, and if Jesus Christ, the only sinless Lamb is Worthy to be praised, and if all in Christ are made saints by the blood of this Lamb, and if there is no respect of persons, why does the very Catholic church behave this way? May Jesus Christ be praised.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

RevLady - Thank you for your strong words of affirmation. They are appreciated very much. Blessings to you.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thank you, Pamela. Your observations are right on. Much encouragement to you.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Judah's Daughter - Thank you for stopping in & sharing your thoughtful comments. You definitely raised some problematic issues worthy of discussion. Blessings & peace to you.


peacenhim 6 years ago

Excellent article! Most people spend their entire lives trying to fill that empty void that can only be filled by Jesus. We live in a very materialistic world and society, but Jesus said; "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matt. 4:4. False gods are considered treasures, things which we value and cherish above everything else, even above the one true God. They are the things which capture our hearts or are worldly possessions. Jesus tells us not to store up treasures here on earth but to set our hearts on and store up treasures in heaven. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matt.6:21


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

peacenhim - Thank you for your kind words of affirmation. Much peace & encouragement to you.


A M Werner profile image

A M Werner 6 years ago from West Allis

Great hub Ken. Mankind is convinced it must acquire treasure in places where moths eat and rust corodes. They build bigger barns and idolize those on the quest to acquire more - they make heroes of them. I really think you got it right with the convience factor. The last few generations of western civilization believe convience is a right, a freedom and part of their liberty. Just the idea of walking (unless they are exercising) is a burden. I enjoyed this. Peace.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

A M Werner - Thank you for your encouraging words. The convenience factor is getting progressively stronger. Glad you enjoyed this. Blessings to you.


Keith 6 years ago

Whew! Good one Ken! Gotta pass this one on!


skye2day profile image

skye2day 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Tidings Ken, Fantastic Hub. Your words flow in truth like a smooth, flowing river of fresh water. Great fresh writing. As you know Ken many on hubpages know the Savior. It is awesome we can all share the Good News of Salvation and freedom. I know many seeds are getting planted. Praise God. We have much work to do for the Lord. The wonderful news is children of God will be raised up, set apart. we have the promises of Christ. WOW I am in tears at the moment thinking of how grateful I am. We will be out of here at first pick up. How exciting is that? Bible prophecy is being fulfilled. I am sad for many but I believe they will come to know the truth. I did and that my friend is a true miracle. I loved your 'false Gods' especially the first one too funny. So right on. I confess I love American Idol, worship NOT, but when a believer comes on it is awesome. There have been many the last few shows. You are Blessed and you Bless others. In Joy + + + Your friend


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks, Keith. Pass them all on, man. :>)


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

skye2day - Thank you for your very kind & very inspiring words of affirmation. Blessings & much encouragement to you in all your writing & ministry efforts.


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Amen for your truth being spoken, thank you so much for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

creativeone59 - Thank you for the encouragement. Much appreciated. Blessings to you.


poetlorraine 6 years ago

i am almost sure we are not the same religion, but the way you express your beliefs, is wonderful... there should be more people willing to express themselves as you do, i am a bit of a coward.....


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

poetlorraine - Thank you for stopping by & reading. Your comments made me smile. Take care & have courage...


Unchained Grace profile image

Unchained Grace 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

Ken, I can remember way back in the day when I was earning obscene money working for Uncle Sam that I was all about consumerism and looking at my then new Chevy Z28 as THE true American Idol.

When I met the Lord, I was a homeless veteran. Very little in terms of possessions and no money to speak of. The price we pay spiritually and personally for idol worship is a big one. I paid the price in a big way.

Now, I live a spartan existance. Between Unchained Grace Ministries, LLC and Holy Truth Veterans Housing Program, every nickel I don't absolutely need to survive goes for our homeless veterans for whom we provide housing, food and all that. Because of my own background and the teachings of The Apostle of Deliverance (Bishop Kenneth A. Savage) I have long since adopted the Spirit of Joshua. The Obedient Warrior. It is what it is and . .

You have slam dunked the consumerism, materialism and need for false idols right through the hoop and although there is quite a "Jesus" following up here on Hub Pages, we all need to remember that cross we all must bear daily.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Unchained Grace - Thank you sharing a bit of your testimony here. Yes, I think in our culture consumerism/materialism is a seductive false god that is full of deceptions.

Much peace, blessings & encouragement to you in all your ministry & writing endeavors.


Unchained Grace profile image

Unchained Grace 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

I have found there is a book carried by Amazon called "The Agony of Deceit." It's all about false teachers, prophets, etc. I have it on my "Must Read" list.

There is an old corporate adage which says,"The butts you kick on the way are up the same ones you gotta kiss on the way down." For most of us, that downward slide is a lot quicker than the climb upward.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks for the head's up on the book. I'll check it out.


terced ojos profile image

terced ojos 6 years ago from terced_ojos@yahoo.com

I have finally come to that crossroads in my life where I realize what I really need as opposed to just want. I need the love of my wife and children. I need healthy food and clean water. Apart from these two things I don't need anything else. My car is paid for. I'm trying to pay off my house. I want a new car, I want a new house, I want, i want i want....Living as simply as possible is a blessing. Buddha said that "want" was the cause of all human suffering. Hmmmmm. Think about it for a minute. Buddha also said that each persons want caused the inevitable injury of someone else. Hmmmmm. Think about it for a minute. Meditate if you will on the aformentioned sentence. I once read a quote that said "comparison is the root of all unhappiness." Want and Need. Freedom is calling.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

terced ojos - Thanks for stopping in & sharing interesting & thought-provoking comments. Best wishes & much encouragement to you on your journey.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Excellent hub - definitely thought provoking. I'm never been very materialisti really, though I do have a weakness for shoes! Sometimes I think I'd be happy living in a hut on the beach.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks, habee. My weakness is books. And my place would be a cabin on the side of a mountain in the middle of nowhere.


Hopmoney wizard profile image

Hopmoney wizard 6 years ago from barak

wow! you have a good and well research and in depth understanding of the topic. God bless you. Learn so much from this. I feel at home to your hub.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Hopmoney wizard - Thank you for your kind & generous words of encouragment. Blessings & peace to you.


significance profile image

significance 6 years ago

I believe you are right about people searching for a successful life. But they shoot for success in this world and in this short lifetime, which is a waste. Your words encourage a life of significance, through Jesus' teaching and fulfillment. I would rather waste my short life searching for everlasting, significant things, and come to find out it was all a waste when I die, than to pursue meaningless things and find out I am poor when I die. I also find that the more I search for significance the more I feel freedom from even this life's disappointments. I don't have to care any more. I am still a work in progress though. I have much more room to grow in my pursuit of significance.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

significance - Thank you for reading & sharing thoughtful comments. Blessings & much encouragement to you on your journey.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain

I found this a very interesting and well written hub that captures very well our flirtations with false gods in a way that is easy to understand and agree with.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

maggs224 - Thank you for your encouraging words. Peace & blessings to you.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia

Ken I agree with a lot of what you are saying, although I feel that if I am understanding you correctly that you are painting all consumerism with a bad light. I am of the opinion that if people can live within their own means that they are entitled to buy what they wish.

Another point I would like to make is that without consumerism we would not be able to express our opinions (here on HubPages for example) in such a manner as we can so openly on the internet (for free).


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

agvulpes - Thanks for your interesting & thoughtful comments. Like everyone, I am a consumer.

BUT consumerism is so easily manipulated & is completely out of control. Commercials indoctrinate children into believing they NEED a certain product. It is the world we live in. Blessings & peace to you.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia

Ken I agree 100% with you about the children. Here in Australia they are targeted (some would say bombarded) daily on TV and other places to buy this or that product.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working