Johnny Lee sings a song called, “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.” Viktor Frankl once wrote, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” Matthew Kelly has an expression I love: “We can never get enough of what we don’t really need.” All three quotes relate to us having false gods and chasing false happiness. I refer to them as the 4Ps…Prominence, Possessions, Pleasure, and People.
We all want to do well, to succeed. Many want to stand out. That could mean business or career success. For others, it might be more about social standing or popularity. Still others want notoriety for excelling in a field or doing good deeds. Prominence makes us feel respected and admired, held in high esteem, and most importantly, loved. Social media plays into this as well, since most of us only put our best selves forward.
The drive for prominence can also manifest itself in superficial relationships, where we’re really using other people instead of truly befriending them. Maybe we desire to be prominent to them individually, or to impress others by the relationship.
Look at the houses we live in, the cars we drive, and the things we wear. It’s a universal issue, no matter our sex, race, religion, age, or socioeconomic position. No matter the income level or the neighborhood we live in, we value stuff. One indication of this is the amount of personal debt most people have in the U.S. Many live way beyond their means. Cars and trucks can now be financed over longer and longer periods of time. The amount of electronic gadgetry that most of us have is over the top. Then there are all our other physical possessions … the list is endless.
I’m not suggesting that we should go without a house or a car, but instead understand why we buy what we do. Is it for functionality or status?
When we don’t know that we’re made for greatness, we rely on distraction and entertainment, anything that provides us with pleasure. Far too many people equate pleasure with joy or happiness. They’re not the same. Joy is long lasting, independent of substance or circumstances. Pleasure, on the other hand, is only experienced in the moment. Once the act creating the pleasure is over, the pleasure is gone. It is fleeting.
Whether we realize it or not, many of us turn other people into false gods. They may be professional athletes, actors, musicians, politicians, dignitaries, the wealthy, very successful, or those that hold prominent positions. But they can also be people in our own life. In my adult life, I didn’t look to the “rich and famous” as my false gods. For me, the people I looked up to (often with envy as well as admiration) were the local business owners and executives in my hometown. I wanted to be a successful business guy more than anything in the world because of what I thought it said about me, and the people I idolized most were those I could reach out and touch.
There is hope! But we have to stop looking for fulfillment in prominence, possessions, pleasure, and people. Only one thing can fill the God-sized hole in the center of our chest…and that’s God Himself.
As always, please feel free to contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.
God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!
God made you for GREATNESS!!!