gods of our day (part 4)
Greetings precious people, I hope that you are doing well and rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ. In todayís article we will conclude this four part series on the gods of our day. Though there are many gods that people have chosen to worship today, we have looked at but a few. Remember a god can be anything whether real or imagined. It can be a person, place, thing, image, idea, etc. What identifies any of these as being a god in a personís life is the place it holds in that personís heart, mind, and life. That which occupies a personís thoughts, passions, his or her purpose for living, in other words the master passion of a personís life is that personís god.
Though we have looked at just three so far, the gods of sex, pleasure, and money, there are many more we could consider such as sports, movie and rock stars, etc. Do you find it coincidental or interesting that one of the top rated shows over the past weeks has been American Idol. Many stars whether they are from the rock, movie, or sports arenas, become idols in many peopleís hearts. The Bible, Godís Word, is very clear when it comes to idols which is also known as idolatry.
The first two commandments are directed against idolatry. In Exodus 20:3-5, we read, "You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them."
A verse that clearly shows that idolatry is much more than bowing down to a wooden or metal image, is found in the New Testament. In Colossians 3:5, we read, "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." Here God identifies covetousness as being a form of idolatry. Covetousness is having an inordinate affection for something or anyone
As we have considered the various gods of our day, there remains one that is without doubt the most highly admired above all the rest. In fact, this is the center of all others, it is the god of "Self". Self is also known as I, Me, Mine, and Myself. By nature, we are all self-centered individuals, prone to be self absorbed and consumed with self.
This self-interest was first seen in the lives of the very first human beings, Adam and Eve. Though created without sin, God placed within them the ability to choose, the power of choice. This power to choose would either keep them in their original state of sinlessness or would lead to what we now know as a fallen sinful nature. We know from what the Bible tells us, that because they made the wrong choice, that of rebellion and disobedience to Godís known will, they became sinners. Where these two became sinners by the choice that they made, the rest of mankind, including you and I, are sinners by nature. This means that we are born with a sinful nature. Sinning or making the wrong choice is not what makes a person a sinner, rather sinning and making the wrong choices only proves that we are sinners.
Let me take you to the Book of Genesis, where we find the account of the fall of Adam and Eve. From this account of the fall, we are able to see not only the fall but also what was the cause of it, what the bait was.
In Genesis 3:1-6, we read; "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' " Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate."
Did you catch the temptation that Satan offered to Eve? It is the same temptation he offers to all of mankind today, it is that you and I can be far more than we ever dreamed of, we can become a god. In other words, we can become the "captain of our ship", the "head honcho" of our life, the "boss", the one who calls the shots and sets the path for our life. This has great appeal to the self-nature that so wants to be elevated to the status of "god".
So few people today understand the true nature of the "self-esteem" movement. We have been told by the "experts" that the solution to many of our problems is that we just need a better self-esteem, a better self-image. This is far from the truth. Many times the best way to understand the meaning of a word, especially a compound word such as self-esteem is to simply turn it around. When you turn self-esteem around you get esteem self. More self-esteem is not the answer to many of our problems; it is the cause of many of our problems.
Man is not in need of a better self-image; he needs a better understanding of who his Creator is and His purpose for manís life. When man rejects the True and Living God and begins to worship the creation of God he looses sight and understanding of his purpose for existence. The Apostle Paul puts it so well in his letter to the Romans. In Romans 1:21-25, we read, "Because, although they (mankind) knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever."
Consider with me if you would, the devastating effects that the teachings of Evolution in our public schools over the past 30 years has had on our society. As Evolution moved into our schools, God and His Word which reveals the purpose for manís existence was forced out. When I was in school a little over 30 years ago, the greatest concern to student and teacher was: tardiness, graduating, unruliness was spit balls, smoking in the restrooms, an occasional fistfight in the halls or some other minor prank. And lest you think I went to a one room schoolhouse, my graduating class was just under 1,000.
Today the concerns of student, parent, and teacher are far different. Now it is, will I get out of school alive. Will the student even want to get out of school and if he or she does, will they have any kind of education that will benefit them for life, will they contract AIDS or some other STD, will the teacher be assaulted physically, verbally, or sued by student, parent or both. My how things have changed, how we have improved since we gave God the boot. We are much more free now to do our own thing, to be our own person. Forgive me for the hint of sarcasm. Our situation truly is nothing to laugh about.
Things cannot, they will not get better until we take our rightful place before the Lord God Almighty. This calls for humility, of humbling ourselves before the Lord. To dethrone the god of self in our heart and ask God to take His rightful place. The Bible tells us in James 4:6-10, we read, "But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Therefore submit to GodÖ Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up."
Listen dear ones; the worship of self is the most vain (empty) act a human being can lower him or herself to. It will NEVER satisfy nor bring fulfillment to life. It will certainly not bring forgiveness of sins nor a clear conscious. Only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can do this and much more.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine