I ended a few posts back asking what you love. I was working with the idea that we behave not based on what we believe but instead on what we love.
I know I should sleep more, but I stay up late watching tv.
I know I should eat better and exercise more, but things are hectic now. Once things slow down, then I work on that stuff.
Even when it becomes evident that certain habits are causing health problems, we sometimes continue rather than make changes.
You Are What You…
The thing about what we love…we become like what we love. It’s what we mean when we say something is formative. It’s what Psalm 115 expresses when it says, talking about idols,
And those who make idols are just like them,Psalm 115:8
as are all who trust in them.
Having idols doesn’t mean we have a shrine in our back garden with a little statue. Tim Keller described it well when he wrote an idol is,
“anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, and anything that you seek to give you what only God can give.”Counterfeit Gods
Idols are those things that fill a space only God should fill…and when they fill that space, they form us. I grew up hearing, “you are what you eat.” We can just as well say, “you are what you love.”
What is the Good Life?
This gets us to an important question we each have to answer. “What is the good life?” How would you answer that question? What do you consider the good life? The question is crucial because the way you answer it determines what your life is oriented toward. However, while the question is critical, most likely, you are struggling to put your answer into words.
And here’s why. James K. A. Smith writes this,
“To be human is to be animated and oriented by some vision of the good life, some picture of what we think counts as ”flourishing.“ And we want that”You Are What You Love
Smith argues that being a human means that we are directed toward some telos or ultimate goal that we desire. This image of the good life is not something we think about or understand but rather “some picture [that] captures our imagination”.
We generally don’t have a well thought out concept of what the good life is. We have a picture that has grabbed our heart…and that is now the direction our life is pointing.
Where does that picture come from?
We are constantly inundated with messages telling us what the good life is. Of course, these messages generally present a picture apart from Jesus. So we are drawn to them, we pursue them, and in the end, we discover they never provide what they promised.
Let me wrap this up with two questions. The first is a repeat. What is your image of the good life? The second, what does Jesus present as the good life? We’ll dig into that next.