When I decided at the age of 23 to go my way without God, I had no intention of becoming a wicked person. In fact, I believed the opposite would happen. Life would be wonderful.
You see, after a childhood and youth in the Adventist church, I felt that I had seen some very bad aspects of humanity wherever in the world my parents served. We saw immorality, greed, self-righteousness and, worst of all, hypocrisy. I determined not to be like some who said one thing and did another. I would never make a pretense of being good while covering up my sins. But at the same time, I thought, I would be a kinder and more loving.
For a few years my plan went very well. I was able to get an entry-level job at an English-language newspaper in Russia and started a swift climb to the top. After five years I felt like I had achieved it all, including the No. 2 position at the newspaper and a larger apartment than anyone else I knew, and it had all the modern conveniences a person could want.
But my job and possessions became idols. Perhaps I set out to be a kind, loving person. But after a decade without God, the only person I treated with loving kindness was myself. Other people might have thought that I was a good person, but all of my actions sought to benefit only me.
Jeremiah rightly said, “They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves” (verse 2:5 NIV).
Prayer: “Dear God, it’s easy to look at things such as a nice place to live with many conveniences, a good job, a special friend because they seem to offer joy and comfort. But I understand that without You, every worldly thing is a worthless idol that will make me worthless, too. I recognize You today as my Creator and Redeemer. Fill me with Your Spirit and help me to realize that my worth comes from You. Amen.”
Journalist in Russia