What is your god?

On Sunday we looked at how the exercise of paraphrasing a verse (i.e. putting it in our own words) can really help us slow down and understand what God is saying. The suggested practice verse from today’s reading was 2 Kings 23:25:

Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.

My paraphrase looked like this …

In all of Israel’s history, there never had been nor would be again, a king like Josiah. He oriented every aspect of his life, like a compass, toward God. He did this with passion, enthusiasm, and energy, and the guiding framework for it all was simply the instructions God had given Moses so long ago.

So what about us? Can we say that we are orienting every aspect of our lives towards God with passion, enthusiasm, and energy? The challenge for Israel and for us is that it is so easy to be distracted and turn to something else. A devotional I read today noted …

Our god, as pastor and author Tim Keller puts it, is “anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.” Today the gods of success, money, status, beauty, fame, sex and family claim much allegiance.

I think that’s a very helpful definition. How much would be at stake if you were to lose your success, or your money, or your status, or your beauty, or … [you fill in the blank!] On the other hand, what if you lost God – would your life still be full enough to have meaning?

The devotional concluded …

You must not have any other god but Me. Perhaps that’s not just because the true God is worth ultimate allegiance, but because any other god will ultimately break our hearts. Are you falling for any surrogate gods? How can we stop good things from becoming idols in our lives?

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