The gods of this world go by many names and they belong to many religions. They have different origin stories and mythologies surrounding them. They each have purported special powers to allegedly influence the lives of their followers, for better or worse. And each of those gods figuratively competes for the top post, positioned above the others. Yet, there is only one true God, who puts all others to shame.
Since you are reading this editorial, there’s a strong likelihood that you proclaim your god to be the one true God; the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and all that lives upon it; the God who blessed Abraham because of his obedience; the God who is a Family, consisting of the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ; the God whose plan involves increasing His Family to include as many of mankind as will obey Him. If this is the one whom you proclaim to be your God, you do well.
However, merely claiming that He is our God is not enough. Do our actions prove it? The question of who our God is can be answered by observing whom we serve. Is the one we serve the same as the God that we proclaim, or do our actions provide contrary evidence? The way that we behave shows how we set our priorities in deed, and points to the God — or false god — in our life.
The first commandment provides us with a very clear instruction. That is, we are to have one God, who is the Eternal, and serve none other. As simple as this commandment is, we need to fully recognize what it means. It is not enough to proclaim that we are Christians who worship the true God. It is not enough to merely claim that we believe the Truth of the Bible. We have to obey God as well. If we choose not to serve God by obeying His commandments, we choose instead to serve someone or something else, and that in turn becomes our god. Any time we prioritize the desires we have above the obedience to God, we break that first commandment to serve the one true God.
Perhaps the one whom we serve is ourselves. Do we allow our own wants to get in the way of following God’s instructions? Do we choose to interpret the Bible in a way that is convenient to us, and ignore the Scriptures that contradict those interpretations? If we fall into these kinds of self-deceptive traps of pride, it can be very difficult to snap out of them and wake up to the Truth. The only way to protect ourselves from the trap of pride is to dedicate our love to God and His Way of Life, and objectively live by His instructions rather than the desires of our own.
Paul provides a warning about people who do not serve the true God in his letter to the Philippians, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18-19). Clearly, those whom Paul describes have the wrong focus in their lives. By seeking earthly pleasures of an immediate nature, rather than the spiritual fulfillment of righteous living, they choose the way that leads to death. It’s a grim ending for those who choose to turn from God and serve themselves.
Fortunately, if we are called, we can always correct our path by recognizing that we have gone astray and repent of our sins. If we want our God to be the one true God, we must show it through our willingness to serve Him with obedience.