I have a worship disorder. So did the Jews of Jeremiah’s time. So do we all. In Jeremiah 7, God calls the Jews’ idols “deceptive” and “worthless” (v. 8) and warns them that they pursue these idols to their “own harm” (v. 6).

An idol needn’t be a statue. It’s anything that competes with God for room in our hearts. In our twistedness we run after substitutes for God, wanting to satisfy our desires or numb our pain, on our terms and timetable as we strive to meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways, at illegitimate times. We can untwist our idolatry by working to meet legitimate needs (as God defines legitimate) in legitimate ways, on God’s timetable.

One legitimate need is for belonging, especially belonging to a loving family. (It’s awful to feel like we don’t belong!) In our attempts to convince ourselves that we belong to a group (whether to family, friends, coworkers, etc.), what do we inappropriately sacrifice to gain their acceptance? God intends earthly families, especially Christian families, along with a community of believers (the family of God), to meet this need as we speak and live the truth in love (though we do so imperfectly). Our need for belonging will find its ultimate, joyful satisfaction in heaven with God our Father and His perfected family.

As we identify our true and deepest needs and embrace God’s ways and times to meet them, we can progressively find relief from our twisted, self-destructive idolatry.