I started a new book yesterday, You are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, by James K.A. Smith.
I am what I love?
I certainly love my wife, kids, and family.
I love my friends.
I love to travel, ride my motorcycle, read books, grow bonsai trees.
I love to collect things – odd things – and to search for them.
I love Guatemala – particularly a small village called Chontala, and my friends who live there.
I try to love myself – in a healthy way, of course. Some days that’s easier than others.
I love God.
Smith writes, “…’you are what you love’ is synonymous with saying ‘you are what you worship.'” He then quotes Martin Luther, who said, “Whatever you heart clings to and confides in, that is really your god.”
Ouch. I’m fully aware of how God feels about loving worshipping other gods.
If I’m honest…
I love praise and affirmation.
I love success, accomplishment, and accolades.
I love receiving the admiration of others.
I love food – it’s my drug of choice.
I love indulging in self-interest.
I love comfort.
I love money, and what can be done or acquired with money.
I love hiding from people – I am an introvert.
I love patting myself on the back.
Are these gods to me, too? Do I cling to them? Do I worship them? I know the answer.
There’s absolutely no question that I love God. The problem for me -and most of us humans – is all of these pesky lesser gods that vie for my constant attention and devotion, and worship. They seduce me into believing they can make me happy; that they can make fulfill my needs; that they can ease my pain. Of course, those are empty promises. I KNOW that. But, in the heat of the moment, they win my time and talents. They take my financial offerings. They receive my devotion. They have my love and my heart…and that’s the problem.
I’ve only read about 38 pages of Smith’s book, so far, so I can’t tell you, for sure, where he is heading with all of this. But, I know.
Obviously, my first love must be God. He demands no less, and is worthy of nothing less.
I know. I really do. Now I have to deal with these pesky, lesser gods in my life…
What do you love?