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When I’m God

When I’m God

The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. Exodus 8:18

I would never consciously claim that I am my own god. I know that’s absurd and blasphemous. As long as I can remember, I’ve believed in God and that I’m supposed to follow his will, not my own. I’ve always chaffed at doing what others want though. When I was a kid, I remember being frustrated that I was dependent upon other’s choices and their authority over me. I recall thinking, When I grow up, maybe I’ll make mistakes, but at least I’ll be doing what I want. I didn’t know how painfully right I was.

In my addiction, I made a god of my appetite. That’s what addiction does. While I originally made voluntary choices to use the drug, I eventually surrendered my will as it consumed my life. Once addicted, the drug made all my decisions for me. I followed my will above all, as my own god, and it destroyed everything good in my life. I make a terrible god.

We may not consciously see it this way, but it’s our nature to follow our own will above all, putting ourselves in the place of God. This is illustrated in today’s passage. In the story, God turned the dust of the Earth to gnats which covered Egypt. Pharaoh’s magicians tried to reproduce the sign, making themselves equal to God. They saw God do something and they wanted to prove that they could do it too. Something in them caused them to desire to be a god unto themselves. This nature unfortunately lives in all of us.

This is the reason some don’t believe in God – they don’t want there to be a God because they desire that their own will be the highest power in their lives. Even for those of us who claim to be followers of Christ though, this desire to be god is still a profound problem. We know that God has made us to find our joy in him, but we try to find it almost anywhere else.

We believe we should find our joy in God, but that requires sacrifice. So, we seek satisfaction in any number of things that we think we want. We pursue lust, money, food, pride, status, popularity, or chemicals, looking for gratification in our appetite. Our appetites are a collection of idiots though, making terrible gods. We will never find authentic joy, purpose, and meaning in ourselves, because God created us to find those things only in him. We may want to be god, but we make terrible gods. If we truly desire to experience satisfaction, we must paradoxically abandon ourselves to follow God. He’s God. We’re not.

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