Do You Know Who Is Your God?
A thinker recently told me, “Every mature man needs to figure out who is his god.” I liked that. Do you know who is your god and how you worship that god? You do worship, you know. Whether you are aware of it or not. Every human being worships something or someone.
Do you realize that with any other god beside the One True God, you can never be fully thankful.
A god, or idol, is anything that wins over the true God when two ways diverge. When you come to a fork in the road that requires a choice, you pick what you worship.
Counselors have identified three main gods or idols: the god of comfort, the god of control, and the god of people-pleasing, but they take on varied mantels to attract us and pull us in.
Tim Keller identified several similar Idols: power, work, achievement, image, dependence, independence, religion, irreligion, inner ring, racial/cultural, ideology, materialism, family, relationship…..
Most of us feel a pang of guilt when these idols are mentioned. Most of us could raise our hands that we battle with more than one. There is one sure thing: these gods always disappoint and fall short. These gods will leave you unthankful because they cannot be relied upon.
If you have formed a relationship with the One True God, Yahweh, His character and promises are unchanging, and though His ways lead into deep darkness at times, we know that He is micromanaging every detail for His plan and glory and for our good.
You want to worship such a God the way that He desires you to worship. He desires to cleanse you from your sin and to make you new. His new life and indwelling Spirit changes you from the inside out. He begins to renew your mind as you put off the shackles that belong to another god, and put on the things that please the true and righteous God.
As we conform to the image of the Lord Jesus, we become less us and more Him. We live life with a different perspective than someone who lives for the deceptive and disappointing gods of this world. One of the elements of Christlikeness is to live life thinking thanks to the Father (Matthew 11:25, Luke 10:21, John 11:41, Colossians 1:3).
As we think thanks, we learn to see His fingerprints in our every day lives. Our minds look for things to give thanks for on a continual basis.
The beautiful thing that happens to us when we worship the One True God is that He satisfies us. In His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).
One of the true tests of what your worship happens when you are going through difficulties. It is easy to be thankful and trust God when things are going smoothly.
What about in ‘deep darkness?’
Psalm 23:4 says that even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
The “shadow of death” can be literally translated as “deep darkness.” Even in the times of deep darkness I do not need to fear evil. The reason the psalmist gives is because the Shepherd is with me, His rod and staff comfort me. If you have the god of comfort, you will be very uncomfortable. If you have the god of control, you will be outraged. If you have the god of people-pleasing, you will struggle to keep your friends and family happy in the deep darkness.
Thinking thanks even in the deep darkness seems almost impossible even with the One True God. It feels like it is hard just to breathe. Yes, it is very hard. And it may take a long time before we are able to get to the point where we can even contemplate thinking on something that we can be thankful for.
But when we finally look up, we will see that we did not wander off on our own; the Shepherd has been there. Then we can begin to see things that are gifts from the Shepherd, and then follows a slow release of a deep joy that builds as we gain perspective from a distance.
He has not left me to wither up by myself. He is with me!
Just that thought is enough to give you cause for thinking thanks. He has not forsaken me. He cares about me intensely. He has even counted all the hairs on my head. He loves me with an everlasting love that will not end (Jeremiah 31:3).
God’s Trusted Character
So who is your god? Do you know? Have you identified who it is?
The gods of this world that I am tempted to worship are temporal. They do not satisfy. Yes, maybe there is quick, temporary satisfaction, but they will never follow you into the deep darkness. Only One Shepherd will.
If you worship the God of the Bible, you have the confidence that He is the Blessed Controller of all things. He will work all the difficult things together for my good, conforming me into Jesus’ likeness.
Actively pursue thinking thanks. Figure out a way that works for you. Whether you say it orally to someone daily or write it down or make a voice message to someone. Weave it in to the fiber of your life. Obey the Shepherd who walks with us and guides us.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”I Thessalonians 5:18