“You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3
One of my seminary professors, Lewis Smedes, (from whom I will generously borrow) once wrote that there are “…three desires of the modern heart – the urge to feel good, the urge to make good, and the urge to look good.”
It is often with almost religious zeal and devotion that we sit at the feet of this sacred trinity of our culture. We commune at the table, which commemorates the body of self-seeking pleasures and the blood of self-serving sacrifices.
Feeling good is that god of pleasure-giving feelings. We will do anything to wipe out the rigors of daily living. Its adherents drink from the cup of warm fuzzies and gather around the priesthood of therapists and Oprah. Give us this day our daily dose of warmth and forget what is really important in life.
Making good is the god of materialism and success. Modern man and woman gather around the altar of Wall Street and kneel at the foot of the almighty dollar. We have daily devotions from the Book of Dow Jones and memorize those things, which will make us successful. Forgive us our debts and lead us not into bad investments and deliver us from recession and financial ruination.
Looking good is the god of self-centeredness. We gather at the mirrored altar of health spas, fad diets, designer clothing and plastic surgery. Its prophets are Jack, Richard, Cindy and Billy. Its benediction is no pain, no gain. Its value is youthfulness.
The sacred trinity of feeling good, making good and looking good make for good lives (there is a lot of good in feeling good, making good and looking good). However, feeling good, making good and looking good make lousy gods.
Which is it for us? I am all for feeling good, making good and looking good as long as they do not become our gods.