The wonders and delights of the things of earth pose a serious practical problem for Christians who want to glorify God and flee from idols. On the one hand, we know that God’s wrath is revealed against those who exchange his glory for created things. And we know that idolaters—those who love creation more than God—will not inherit the kingdom of God. Aware of this danger, some Christians have sought to wall themselves off from the world, escaping from the danger of idolatry with a well-timed stiff-arm to pleasures that we can see, smell, hear, taste, and touch.
But the Bible teaches us that we can’t solve the sin problem by rejecting creation outright. If we do, we simply move from being sensuous idolaters to foolish lackeys of the Devil (1 Tim. 4:1–5). But most of us aren’t about to become hermits living in the desert, far away from all possible temptations to indulge our appetites. We have no interest in becoming monks, so the warnings in passages like 1 Timothy 4 and Colossians 2:20–23 don’t hit home.