Do we really know the God we serve? Is it really the God of all creation?
Or is it a pretty-packaged god, made in our own imaginations?
I say this because I observe that we are very religious in all aspects. Most people that call themselves Christians live a very religious life. Many even live what most would call a “holy” life. Abstaining from lusts and all sorts of ungodly behavior. That is to be commended. We do not live in ancient Greece but what Paul dealt with about 2000 years ago is not much different than today both in secular circles but also in the Church.
Acts 17:22So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23“For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.
If you will humor me for just a few minutes I will explain my dilemma.
Imagine, if you will, an altar. Not just any old altar but the altar of your life. On that altar sets all that is truly important to you as exposed by your checkbook, ways you spend your time, what you watch, what you say, what you listen to, and who you spend your time with and other things that are important to you.
On that altar are statues (idol) that represent each item of importance.
For example, one such statue might be of a human, because you fear man’s opinion more than God’s opinion and political correctness or other’s opinions determine who you are. (this is one of my problems, just so you know; can’t teach what you haven’t already been through)
Another statue might be yourself, because most of what you do revolves around what is comfortable for you, what you want, your dreams, aspirations, success in your own eyes, etc. (yeah, I have this one too, we can’t all be perfect now can we?)
Another might be a TV. Now that one hits home doesn’t it? That black box that gets more of our time and energy and speaks more into our life than the Word of God. (can’t deny this either)
Another might be the job. Not just any old job but either the one you long for above all else that means success for you that you are willing to sacrifice all else or it’s just a job that encompasses all your energy so you have nothing left for anyone else.
So you get the picture? I’m sure there are many more “idols” that we set up in our life. But what really got me is the one to the “UNKNOWN GOD”. I “KNOW” God, personally. I have a relationship with Him. He has revealed Himself to me in more than one way. However, I don’t live like I know the God of creation. Look at the rest of Acts 17…
23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
This God is not one can claim to know lightly. This God requires our ultimate worship- in Spirit and in truth. This God requires a change to happen in us. This changes what we do, how we talk, what we watch, how we treat money. This requires repentance-a turning away, changing our mindset, renewing our mind with the Word of God.
I feel I have done a great disservice to God, the one and only true God of all. I have placed other gods in my life. I have worshiped at the feet of self, money, man, and sin. I have idolized other things in my life above HIM. I spend my money on non-kingdom things, I pursue non-kingdom things, I spend my time at anything other than living for HIM.
2 Timothy 3:5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
This scripture describes people who have a god(s) but NOT THE GOD. Christians, it is evident by these things…
1. Religion without relationship
To have a relationship requires Time and Energy. It requires talking to Him, reading His Word. Living a life of worship and devotion. Do you spend more time communing with God or watching TV or reading books?
2. No power
Read the book of Acts. Everywhere the disciples went (not just the Apostles) mighty signs, wonders and miracles followed the Word they preached. The power of Almighty God was evident to prove His Word. We don’t have that power because we have too many “idols” on the altars of our life.
3. No presence
I change what I read, what I watch, listen to, who I listen to and what I do because I love God and I LOVE His Presence. I don’t want to separate or grieve Him because of the things I allow in my life or poor choices I make. I choose to walk as holy as possible and when I mess up I repent quickly. I am quick to know He is always near me and always loves me. Because of that I am careful what I do.
The worst thing you can do right now is say to yourself “so-and-so needs to read this…he/she really has this problem”. We ALL have this problem.
The problem with all these idols in our life is that we water-down the ONE True GOD. We package Him in a cute little box and bow just the way we want Him-our way. Some people package Him as a distant, un-involved father figure. Some package Him as a tyrant, waiting to strike them with a lightening bolt. Others just package Him in a nice 2 hour service on Sunday mornings. But live however they want the rest of the week. God is still the “Unknown God” to them. They do not know the REAL God, Jehovah.
Is your God the one in the Bible? I know that sounds like a silly question…but just think on it for a minute. Compare your mindset of WHO God is to the Word. Have you ever blamed God for something bad that happened? Then that’s not really GOD that you serve. You serve a man-made god. Jehovah is good and is always good and all good things come from HIM. Do you still maintain sin in your life and justify it? God loves you and wants all to come to repentance but He is also a just and holy God. What you serve is man-made. Have you truly changed the way you live your life? Because when the one and only God is served you not only change but want to change. If not, then you serve a little powerless man-made figment of your imagination.
I believe that the Body of Christ, all who love God and are called according to His name-Christians-is being called to a higher standard today. Again I say “read the book of Acts”. That is a picture of what should be happening in the lives of all believers and if it is not we must seek God’s face, His true face, until we see his power and presence in our own lives today. We must seek the one true God until all other idols are crushed in our lives. Until we see Him for who He really is, not just a micro-sized version but ALL of who He is according to scripture and revelation. He will reveal Himself as you seek His him.
This is my prayer…
…your Kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…
Lord come…your will be done in my life as it is in Heaven, I bend my will to yours, I choose you over everything else. I want more of you in my life. Teach me who you are. Reveal your goodness to me. Open my eyes to see the revelation of your greatness and power. I want more of you, only you. Amen