“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie.
It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for
heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not
the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we
drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God
describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is
a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The
greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts.
And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but
for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an
appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable,
and almost incurable.
Jesus said some people hear the word of God, and a desire
for God is awakened in their hearts. But then, “as they go on their
way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this
life” (Luke 8:14). In another place he said, “The desires for other
things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful”
(Mark 4:19). “The pleasures of this life” and “the desires for
other things”—these are not evil in themselves. These are not
vices. These are gifts of God. They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffee and gardening and reading and decorating and
traveling and investing and TV-watching and Internet-surfing
and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking. And all
of them can become deadly substitutes for God.”