Tim Clinton, Ed.D.
There’s a sin-gouged hole in the heart of every man alive—a deep void that screams to be filled. We attempt to fill that void with everything from adrenalin rushing activities to relationships to careers—sports cars, football, four wheelers, boats, hunting, fishing, you name it. The problem is; none of it will ultimately satisfy. Oh, you may find a certain amount of enjoyment and even contentment in those things for a while, but in the end they will leave you empty, longing for something more.
Think about King Solomon. It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around how rich he was. 1st Kings 10:14 tells us that Solomon received 666 talents of gold each year as a base income. In today’s market that would be around 1.5 billion a year. Anyway you slice it, that’s a lot of dough! Basically, Solomon was so rich, he could buy whatever he wanted and he took full advantage of his assets. He wrote in Ecclesiastes 2:10, “All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure…”KJV. Isn’t that the dream of most men today? Unlimited resources? Power and respect? Excitement and pleasure? “If I could just win the Lottery then I’ll be all set,” we secretly dream. Solomon had all of it. But listen to the next verse. “…Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun” (1 Kings 2:11 KJV ).
All vanity and striving after wind? No profit? Those are some heavy duty words. But it gets worse! Solomon continued in verse 17, “Therefore I hated life …” Ok. Wow. So the guy who had everything—women, adventure, power, unlimited resources for his creative desires, even beautiful retreats to relieve stress, ends up hating life! Solomon didn’t say he was just lacking in some area, but that he “hated life!” That’s because nothing in this life can fulfill the void, nothing.
What was true for Solomon is true for us. When we try to make things in this life fulfill the void, we end up hating those things that we poured all our hopes into when they ultimately fall short of satisfying us. Many men hop from adventure to adventure seeking their next “fix.” Some even hop from one relationship to another. The problem is; it’s a never ending cycle because only God can fill the void. We were designed for fellowship with our creator. Solomon also wrote, “He [God] has also set eternity in the human heart…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV).
The hole in our heart is there because God put it there! We were not made for this world, but for eternity, to walk in fellowship with God. C.S. Lewis put it this way, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Here’s another important point. When we attempt to fill the void in us with things other than God, those things become idols. All of those “other” things are not wrong in themselves. We are free to enjoy them in their proper place but anything in our lives that get the devotion that God alone deserves becomes an idol. Even the wonderful people in our lives can become idols. Because of our insecurities, emotional vulnerability, and longing to be needed, many of us are drawn into over-involved relationships placing those people on the throne of our lives, making them our God. Remember, people will always fall short. Only in an ongoing relationship with God will we find the ultimate peace, intimacy, forgiveness and joy our hearts long for.
We may think we are obeying the command of 1 John 5:21, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” because we don’t have any statues in our homes, but we must realize that idols are more than the Israelites’ golden calf. Anything that becomes our reason for living—our motivation for behavior, our “relational fuel” other than God—is an idol.
Blaise Pascal said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”
 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Tim Clinton, Ed.D., LPC, LMFT (The College of William and Mary) is President of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. He is Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, and Executive Director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. Licensed in Virginia as both a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, Tim now spends a majority of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He is recognized as a world leader in faith and mental health issues and has authored over 20 books including Breakthrough: When to Give In, When to Push Back. Most importantly, Tim has been married 36 years to his wife Julie and together they have two children, Megan, who is married to Ben Allison and is practicing medicine in dermatology, and Zach, who plays baseball at Liberty University. In his free time, you’ll find him outdoors or at a game with family and friends.