The esteem of God and the esteem of the creature are in “balance”: what esteem we have for one is esteem we do not place upon the other. In the definition of idolatry which explains an esteem of the creature as the basis for our security and trust also contains a corollary: to that same extent, we denigrate God:
In what measure and degree we apprehend God aright to be the all-sufficient true God, in that measure we cast away all false confidence whatsoever.
We are finite creatures with finite love and faith. When we bestow faith upon the creature, that is faith we do not bestow upon God:
The more or less we conceive of God as we should do, so the more or less we disclaim confidence in the creature. Those who in their affections of joy, love, affiance, and delight, are taken up too much with the creature, say what they will, profess to all the world by their practice that they know not God. By the contrary, those who know and apprehend him in his greatness and goodness as he should be apprehended, in that proportion they withdraw their affections from the creature and all things else.
He then provides an illustration, based upon a balance with two scales. As one sides goes up, the other side necessarily goes down:
It is with the soul in this case as with a balance. If the one scale be drawn down by a weight put in it, the other is lifted up. So where God weighs down in the soul, all other things are light; and where other things prevail, there God is set light.
I think that this underscores a problem with our sanctification, our discipleship, our living for God. We begin with a natural inclination toward the creature: it seems more real, more tangible. We have a personal sense of control. Perhaps that is why Jesus uses money as the opposite to God: you can serve one or the other. Money gives one the ability to command the creature.
Then we learn such trust in the creature is idolatrous, so we take our hands off of the creature, but we don’t lay hold of God. We for a moment will say we do not trust the creature, but we do not place that trust wholeheartedly upon God. That leaves us unstable; then, too easily we return to the creature.
There is a scene where one is dangling from a rope. The hero says let go of the rope and take my hand. It is as we let go of the rope and then do not grab for the hero. Trusting in our strength we return to the rope and are no better off, and likely much worse for the effort.
That which is taken from the creature, they find in God. And this is the reason why the world so malign good and sound Christians. They think, when God gets, that they lose a feather, as we say, some of their strength.
Surely so it is; for when a Christian turns to God and becomes sound, he comes to have a mean esteem of that which formerly was great in his sight. His judgment is otherwise, as we see here, Asshur, horses, idols, and all, they esteem nothing of them. Horses and the like are good, useful, and necessary to serve God’s providence in the use of means; not to trust in, or make co-ordinate with God.