You shall have no other gods before me
by Chris Forder
You probably recognise the first commandment, and you probably think it is one of the easier ones to keep. “Yep, that’s pretty simple, don’t worship other gods.” But is it as simple as we think? Last year I taught on a series at TGS Youth about how social media has become an idol in the lives of millions of Australian teens. How we can worship God, that is, live the ’Christian life’ and yet still worship other things. This is what the Israelites were doing from the very beginning (Leviticus 17:7), and I fear what many Christians are still doing today. As I challenged the youth I examined my own life and realised that I too had an idol quietly sitting in my heart … T.V.. I realised that I would turn to the T.V. when I was frustrated, sad, lonely, bored, tired, or whatever, in order to find joy, satisfaction, meaning, identity, mental space, or just a little emotional boost. Friends, is that not what we should be turning to God for! I had replaced God with T.V. while still living a very ‘Christian life’. It is not that T.V. is bad, but that is has taken a role that only God should have in my life. Let me ask you the question: what or who do you turn to, to find joy, satisfaction, meaning, identity, or an emotional boost? Is it God? Does he truly satisfy you. Is his presence where you find your joy? Is the purpose God has given you in this life enough, or do you need more … elsewhere? We find idols all over the place. Sport, fitness, music, career, house, holidays, friends, family, food, etc. Is this what you are working towards, living life for? Do you think, I will be happy when, I get my next holiday, I lose 5kg, I finish my studies… fill in the blank. Could it be that we have chased after created things, instead of the creator to find what only He can give? I gave the youth and myself the challenge of giving up whatever they thought was their idol for one month. To test whether they could live without it. Is there something in your life that you think you couldn’t give up for one month? Does it scare you to think about giving something up for a whole month? If so, maybe it is an idol in your life that you need to deal with. My advice is, take the challenge, give up what you think you can’t live without, but, BUT replace it with something God has put on your heart. This could be writing a letter to a friend to encourage them in their faith. It could be taking a friend or elderly person out for shopping. It could be as simple as praying for missionaries and family members. But the idea is that you don’t just give something up, you turn to God and take something on.
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