I read Exodus 20:4-5—“You shall not make for yourself an idol…You shall not worship them or serve them…”—and the following, admittedly imperfect, thought experiment came to mind:

Assuming I was the only man on Earth and God did not exist, would I write out a daily to-do list? Would I challenge myself to feats of endurance like, say, walking the full length of the Appalachian Trail? Would I care what make and model car I drove? Would I even want a car? Would I spend hours watching TV? Would I take the time to write off-the-wall questions like these? The answer in every case is, “no”.

In fact, assuming that I somehow—absent people or God—had available to me all the creature comforts of today, it’s hard to imagine I would be motivated to do much of anything other than to plug-in to the most streamlined aspects of survival. All other activities or achievements would be trivial. I’d be too lonely to enjoy them.

My outlook improves considerably, however, when I add a single life-giving element to this thought experiment: I’m still the only man on Earth (assume for our purposes that you, dear redeemed person, have already moved on to eternal bliss), only this time I’m not alone—God is with me. And so it is that in this revised setting I’ve imagined, a fresh perspective now keeps popping into my head above all others: I would talk with God a lot, and every activity would be aimed at communing with Him.

Which, in light of Exodus 20:4-5, leads me to one final question: What idols are keeping me from doing that now?

How would you answer that for yourself?

I hope this encourages you to keep God at the center of your thoughts today.

Kevin Murray
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