“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but
too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink
and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an
ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum
because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at
the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
-C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses
With this (now) very popular quote from Lewis, we are reminded that we all settle for pleasures in this world that make grand, significant promises to us. But in the end, these pleasures simply cannot (and will not) follow through on their promises of joy, peace, or satisfaction.
But that’s how idols behave, right? They promise, promise, promise. We believe them every time. No matter how many times they disappoint us, no matter how many times we know in our hearts that they will fool us and make fools of us, we keep going back to them. And over time, we grow into
cynics. We start to doubt that anything will ever follow through on their promise to bring what we so desperately long for. Hope. Joy. Forgiveness. Peace. Love. Acceptance.
As surely as we are given to these ‘lower things’, we are even more sure that we are incapable of prying our own hands away from the ‘frivolous thrills’, of worshiping the idols of our life. We need the God of truth and power to set our gaze on Him, because we are not able to do so by our own power or desire. No matter how much might want to, we are powerless to set ourselves free. This is the heart of this song.
Wrench my soul free from thirsts
For lower things, frivolous thrills, wrench my soul
Flood my soul, ‘whelming found
Abundantly fill with passionate fire, flood my soul
We desperately need God to wrench our souls (or, to twist and turn with a holy force) from the things that we have given our heart’s affections to. We don’t only need our hearts devotion removed from these things, but we need God to mercifully wash us with His kindness, His greatness, in power.
Flood my soul. Flood our souls, oh God!
This song also speaks to the primacy of being solely devoted to our one and true God. God is not flippant about our worship of only Him. He never has been, and He never will be.
Ezekiel 14:1-6 tells us just how much our idolatry angers our great God:
Then certain of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.
And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, these men have
taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of
their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be
consulted by them? Therefore speak to them and say to them, Thus
says the Lord God: Any one of the house of Israel who takes his idols
into his heart and sets the stumbling block of his iniquity before his
face, and yet comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him as he
comes with the multitude of his idols, that I may lay hold of the
hearts of the house of Israel, who are all estranged from me through
their idols. “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord
God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your
faces from all your abominations.
God speaks to his prophet Ezekiel, and tells him how He is going to respond to His people who are seeking wisdom and counsel from Him (God), while still giving themselves over to idolatry. He says that He Himself will address them accordingly.
The ESV Gospel Transformation Bible describes this passage this way:
The elders of Israel “have taken their idols into their hearts!” (v. 3).
Sin and idolatry are never content to be trifled with. We may think
we can stop our idolatries at any point, but the reality is that when
we toy with sin, we take our idols into our very hearts. We give them
residence in our lives.
Ezekiel’s warning against “taking their idols into their hearts” helps us see just how insidious sin really is, even though we are tempted to take it lightly. It also helps us see that salvation from our idolatry and sin is not just a matter of new resolve or fresh effort. It is a matter of receiving a new heart—made possible for us by our being united to Jesus Christ and being given new life by the power of his Spirit. Instead of taking idols into our hearts, we receive into our hearts the Spirit of Christ.
He will lay hold of their hearts, and He will call them to repent. He will not pour His wisdom on them. Instead, He is declaring the utmost importance of having nothing to do with other gods. Not giving one’s heart over to anyone or anything that might rob them of their sole worship of God alone.
Make no mistake about it: heart idolatry is not always centered on ‘bad things’. Often, we make good things into idols. The human heart has a way of taking good things, and making them ultimate things. We desperately need God, our Father, to flood us our hearts with Himself, for He will not share our hearts with another. Nor should we ever want for Him to.
Like the Israelites, we can no longer make attempts to commit ourselves to God, while also trying to make peace with our other gods in our life.
Keep my days for Your glory
Secure my heart for Your ways
We seek God as many things on our behalf. One of those is Deliverer. He is the One who delivers our enslaved hearts from the captivity of idolatry.
I cling to You oh Lord of all, strong Deliverer
All my life is Yours
Surrender everything I am to You, my only hope
All my life is Yours
He delivers us. He sets us free. And He uses us for His Kingdom! What a gracious God He is. Flood our souls Father.