“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.  I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.” 1 Corinthians 10:14-15

There are plenty of potential barriers to intimacy with God. If we are honest, the areas that can distract us from being fully present in his presence aren’t difficult to identify. John Calvin once wrote, “Every one of us is, even from His mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols.” I’ve also heard it said that our hearts are “idol factories.” It’s not hard for us to find things that hold our affections.

As a matter of fact, we were created by God to worship. In Ecclesiastes 3, and all throughout scripture, we see that our hearts were designed with an eternal longing for Him. So the worship we were made for is intended to be placed in God, alone. Our greatest issue as humans is we’ve allowed our affection intended for God to be directed toward things, people and ideas other than God. Another word for this is idolatry. When we allow idols to interrupt the connection that God intends for us to have with Him, it keeps us from experiencing the connection, fulfillment, and satisfaction that only He can provide for us.

Ronald Rolheiser says it best in his book The Holy Longing: “It is no easy task to walk this earth and find peace. Inside of us, it would seem, something is at odds with the very rhythm of things, and we are forever restless, dissatisfied, frustrated and aching. We are so overcharged with desire that it is hard to come to simple rest.” There’s nothing wrong with having affections. This is, indeed, the way that God created us. We are worshippers by design. Since we all have affections, the question becomes what do we have affection for?

Three areas that can help us potentially identify idols are how we spend our time, our thoughts and our money. What do we spend our time doing from day to day? What we give our lives to shows us our true affections. We can say that something is important, but actions speak louder than words. In the same way, our minds go to the places where our affections lie. More plainly said, we think about the things that are important to us. There’s a reason that there are hundreds of Scriptures that talk about money and stewardship. Money is an important issue in our lives, and what we do with our money is a clear reflection of the things that are in our hearts.

When we honestly assess where our hearts are and dare to examine what this means for us, we can identify and address the blockage that has kept us from engaging with God. We need to flee from the idols that have interrupted our true worship.

What are some things or ideas that may have to created a barrier to intimacy with Jesus?

Excerpt from Finding Soul Rest: 40 Days of Connecting with Christ: A Devotional

Author of Soul Rest: Reclaim Your Life. Return to Sabbath., Curtis advocates intentional self-care through Sabbath practice.

Curtis Zackery (CZ), a sought-after speaker and author, pastors at Church of the City, Franklin, TN, a rapidly growing multi-campus church. His contagious gospel passion defies barriers of age, ethnicity, and religion. CZ offers a raw, relevant gospel perspective through teaching, speaking, and writing. With 15 years of diverse ministry, including church planting, pastoring, and addressing themes like rest and the gospel’s beauty, he brings unique insights. CZ holds degrees from Liberty University and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to pastoral duties at Church of the City, he directed programs at Kids Across America.