Smashing Idols — CJ Quartlbaum

CJ Quartlbaum
4 min readFeb 18, 2022


Joy is going to be found at the end of your idols. Yes, I’m still talking about joy. It’s that important. Peter tells us that the enemy is prowling around seeking whom he will devour, why wouldn’t we think our joy is on his menu? I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week. There are few things that rob us of joy like idols.

First, idols take our eyes off the King. They distract and monopolize our attention. Then they try to convince us that life without Jesus would be better. This is the great lie of idolatry: that there is something more satisfying in life than Jesus.

That leads us to the second point: they’re never enough. Idols don’t satisfy us. Instead they crave more of our attention, more of our time, more of us. While we think we’re using them, idols suck the life out of us. It’s the reason that they’re so addictive because they give us just enough to make us keep coming back while never actually satisfying us.

This is hard

Oftentimes we don’t recognize the effect idols are having on us. This is what makes it so hard to let go of them. For many of us idols are a safety blanket. They are things we turn to for comfort. They don’t fulfill us, they don’t make us feel good like we think they do, instead they rob us of life. They rob us of joy when they fall short time after time after time.

This is especially dangerous when our idols are “good” things. Our kids, our work ethics, new gadgets, and even THAT person. We look to them to fill a God sized hole in our hearts and are left empty and sad when they prove inadequate. What makes this especially tragic is that whatever it is we hold on to can so easily be taken from us. Nothing we have in this life is promised to be there with us to the very end. So what are we clinging to? Kids who will grow up and leave or can be taken from us? A bank account that can be ruined by one well timed crash or inflation? New toys that lose their luster within hours? A person just as flawed as we are?

None of these things will be to you what Jesus has promised to be and continually shows himself to be. My encouragement to you is to smash those idols in your life. I’m desperately trying to get rid of mine. Some are easy to get rid of but then there are others that will try to follow us through life. This won’t always be a one time thing, it is a fight we may be engaged in for years, decades, or as long as we live.

The Reclamation of Joy

As Christians we should be people who exude joy. Not because our lives are perfect but because they’re built on this solid rock that is able to withstand the winds and waves of life. Trouble comes for all of us but the main question is where do we turn when the chips are down?

Our idols try to convince us that the answers are found in them but life experience confirms that to be false. On the other hand, when we’ve placed our hope in Christ, we find that even if things aren’t the way we want them to be, we experience a peace that surpasses understanding . That’s the kind of peace that can stand in the midst of a mess and say “I’m good.”

I started to reclaim my joy when I started to understand this level of peace. The reason I’ve been able to survive the difficulties of life isn’t my aptitude but the grace of God. My joy is found in the truth that his character never changes.

What would our lives look like if we REALLY lived out the joy given to us in Jesus? Like for real. How much bolder would you be? What things would bother you less? Who could you forgive?

Joy is found at the foot of the cross. It is found in the one who bore all our guilt, pain, and shame so that we might be free. The promise of Jesus isn’t just about some promised tomorrow. It’s also about today, the freedom you can feel today. And with that freedom comes joy.

I’m praying we can all experience deep joy this week family.

Originally published at on February 18, 2022.



CJ Quartlbaum

Writer and Speaker from Brooklyn. Race, justice, theology, fitness,and a few random things are what I like to write about.