A Thousand Little Gods
For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist . . . 1 Corinthians 8:5-6
In my addiction I followed the drug above all, spending a tremendous amount of time and effort obtaining it, thinking about it, and under its influence. The drug dominated my life, controlling my thoughts and behaviors. When it became apparent that I was going to have the live without it, I was lost. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to do it. My existence came to revolve around the drug and though I didn’t consciously realize it at the time, it became my god as I surrendered everything to it.
I’d like to say this was the only false god I’ve ever followed, but there are still idols in my life with which I struggle. Anything that I rely upon for my joy, purpose, and meaning, becomes my god.
We may not realize it or talk about it in this language, but we all do this. We all have those places and things to which we look to find our significance when we were made to find our identity in God alone. This is what Paul said in today’s passage where he taught that there are many false gods but that there is only one true God. We exist because of him and for him. He is our highest purpose, and it is only in him that we must first find our life, joy, and purpose.
It doesn’t have to be something obviously evil like drugs that distracts us from the life for which we were made. Normal, everyday things can become self-destructive when we look to them first to fulfill us. We can worship our false gods at the altar of our refrigerator, our phone, or our mirror, trying to find our meaning in food, entertainment, or image.
How do you know if you might have some idol in your life? It’s terrifyingly simple. Just audit your time over the last week and ask yourself what you spent the most time doing? Did you spend hours looking at your screen every day? How much time did you spend with God?
Every second of every day, the world offers up a thousand little gods, all promising satisfaction, happiness, and meaning, all the while, distracting us from the one true God. We will never know authentic joy though until we learn to find it in God, putting him above all else in our lives.