What our hearts are made for (Confessions Book I)

Why is it in our nature to worship something or someone? Why do we feel compelled to exalt people, places, and things? What is in us that makes us worship everything from physical appearance to the latest musical sensation? We idolize musicians, writers, actors, and sports figures. We idolize parents, siblings, and teachers. We idolize gadgets, toys, and cars. We idolize sex, different styles of living, and even food.
The truth is our hearts are worshiping hearts. We are all worshipers. Worship comes naturally. No one needed to tell us we should worship, we just do.
And this insight opens Augustine’s book, Confessions. “Man is one of your creatures, Lord, and his instinct is to praise You. The thought of You stirs him so deeply that he cannot be content unless he praises you…”
The natural question to ask is if this instinct to praise God is in us, why do we worship so many other things? In Chapter 19 of Book I, Augustine says, “My sin was this, that I looked for pleasure, beauty, and truth not in Him but in myself and His other creatures…” The problem is that we are fallen worshipers. And as fallen worshipers, we wander looking for the next thing that we hope might bring us pleasure, beauty, or truth.
But the things we think will bring us satisfaction don’t. Each search leads to more searches and still more searches. And each experience, even the best experiences, leaves us wondering why the satisfaction does not remain.
Augustine concludes his opening paragraph with his most famous quote, “You have made us for Yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in You.” So, it is not just that we were created as worshipers but we were created to worship God.
And everything else that we wander to ultimately leads us to disappointment.

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