Tim Keller’s latest gem, Counterfeit Gods has been rocking my world the past few weeks. I’m only now able to begin to fully process and write a little bit about it.
“The idol of success cannot be just expelled, it must be replaced. The human heart’s desire for a particular valuable object may be conquered, but its need to have some such object is unconquerable. How can we break our heart’s fixation on doing “some great thing” in order to heal ourselves of our sense of inadequacy, in order to give our lives meaning?
Only when we see what Jesus, our great Suffering Servant, has done for us will we finally understand why God’s salvation does not require us to do “some great thing.” We don’t have to do it because Jesus has. That’s why we can “just wash.” Jesus did it all for us, and he loves us–that is how we know our existence is justified. when we believe in what he accomplished for us with our minds, and when we are moved by what he did for us in our hearts, it begins to kill off the addiction, the need for success at all costs (Keller, 93-94).
It’s hard for me to rest. Even on vacation, I long to justify my existence in a myriad of ways. As I push to finish my course work this week, my prayer is for God to show me how to replace the gods of performance, self-reliance, and achievement with something more tangible, more lasting, and more full.