Whether it be, “I don’t believe in god”, “I believe in God. I go to church every week”, “I don’t know if there is a god”, “I believe in God, but serve Him in my own way”, or any other similiar stance, everyone of us is serving some god.
Even Carl Jung, the one credited with developing Analytical Psychology has said,
You can take away a man’s gods, but only to give him others.”Carl Jung 1957
Those who profess to not believe in god, or to not know if there is a god, surprisingly, may find that their god is actually themself. Their own ways, ideas, desires, feelings, and goals become not only their foundation for values, purpose, worth and direction but also their god. Self-serving wishes and desires permeate their every breath as they seek to make sacrifices for their personal will and choice.
Even those 58% of American’s who claim to believe in the God of the Bible, (according to Pew Research 10/21) find themselves wrestling with serving their own ideas/gods, or the God of the Bible and His ways. And add to this group, those 9 in 10 Americans who believe in “some higher power”- and there is no doubt that we as American’s are serving our own gods.
This is not a new phenomenon of course, but it is a relatively new one for America. America, as a nation was born from the seedbed of The Great Awakening and the preaching of the likes of Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, who preached to common people, slaves, Native Americans and even Benjamin Franklin, a religious skeptic. (1) Their whole purpose was to awaken the Christian faith of those in the colonies. The Second Great Awakening followed and so impacted our fledgling colonies that several religious colleges, seminaries and mission organizations were formed.
The climate in the colonies 1730-1790’s was definately religiously charged as all people were encouraged to have a personal connection with God and not just to rely on the church. From this, men and women of deep religious conviction were involved in The Revolutionary War, the writing of our founding documents, the formation of our national government and the leading of our states and nation. Embedded into our documents, memorials and monuments are expressions of thanks to and reliance upon “our benevelent God.”
And although she is not today, she once was a country whose laws, leaders and laymen sought to glorify God and even seek His counsel and wisdom.
We have turned to our own gods now. We have forgotten our roots.
Much like what we see in the history of Israel –
- One place of worship and one God was specified Deut. 12:8-11
- Yet, they served their own gods 2 Ki. 17:32
- They intermarried with pagans (compromising their own faith)
- And worshipped their idols
- They adopted their idolatrous religions
- Their idols involved prostitution
- Their idols involved sexual & pornographic activities
- Their idols involved child sacrifice
- Their idols involved offerings to Baal, Chemosh, Molech and Astoreth and others
- They worshipped nature, the heavenlies & beasts
Sadly, in America today, we too have turned to such gods. In fact, as we mentioned last week, the gods being worshipped today, are many of the gods of the past, pagan nations. They have infiltrated our nation, and been set up on high places for all to see, unashamed and unaware of the consequences of serving our own gods.
Could it be though, that there is a loving God, who knows man’s inclinations and still chooses to love him?
But knowing man’s inclinations just may be the very reason that this loving God’s first of ten commandments is –
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GOD’S BEFORE ME.” (Emphasis mine.)Exodus 20:2-3 ESV
A God who knows us, and loves us so much, that He does not want us to stay the same, searching for something to make sacrifices to, searching for something to offer our life for, to sacrifice to, searching for fulfillment, pleasure, reward or success.
Our own gods are man made and impotent. They cannot receive love nor are they capable of giving love. Our own gods are empty and temporary, incapable of lasting love, fulfillment and happiness.
But the God of the Bible is real, present, and powerful enough for anything you’ll ever face. He is full of love, grace and mercy to the one who turns toward Him, to the one who simply turns away from his own idols, and turns toward Him; who turns away from his own ways, and begins walking His.
Towards the end of the New Testament, we find this warning –
Keep yourselves from idols”1 John 5:21 ESV
May we become more aware of those things (idols) that might take God’s place in our hearts. May we learn to rid ourselves of the things that we look to for help, rather than looking to God.. May we divorce ourselves from fixating on anything more that the One true God. May we rid ourselves of our own idols..
No man can serve two masters”Matthew 6:24 ESV
Never has a word been truer. Never has this truth been more needed to be heeded.
I believe that God is calling for us to remove all the high places in our life where we have set up things, or people as idols. They are the things that get our full attention, energies, efforts and money. If God is not at the heart of those things then they have become idols to us. Shoot, last year I realized that I had made the Dodgers an idol in my life. They were getting more of my time than God was. I was definately serving my own god.
Those are the things that God is doing in our heart if we let Him. He is helping us to be His wholehearted followers and to have no other gods before Him. The days of honesty are upon us.
Won’t you allow Him to show you where you have idols in your life? Won’t you join so many of us who are no longer serving our own gods?
- TheHistoryChannel.com – The Great Awakening