Have you ever found yourself reading through the ten commandments in Exodus 20 and ticking them off in your mind? OK, Jesus made the whole thing much more difficult when He explained that lusting after someone made you guilty of adultery and having angry thoughts about someone made you guilty of murder. But some of the ten commandments, to most Christians, will be a tick in the box.
Do I have other gods before God Almighty? Of course not! I go to church, and maybe other meetings too. I read my Bible and pray. No way do I go to a non-Christian place of worship and pray to that false god.
I’m sure Jonah would have said the same. Yet, God allowed a plant to grow and shade him, then destroyed it by a worm and caused an east wind to make him angry with the heat. God challenged him about the plant He had provided but taken away. Jonah loved that plant so much that, when it was removed, he wished he was dead, and told God so. It had become his god. ‘But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead”’ (Jonah 4:9).
It made me think. Is there anything that I have made into a god with a small ‘g’? A god with a small ‘g’ can be anything which takes the rightful place of the one true God, anything that takes the place of His time and His worship. I began to think of television, of mobile phones, the Internet and time spent on social media. To my surprise and horror, I realised that I have a few other gods with a small ‘g’ around. These gods can even be people, certainly work, cars, our homes, gardens, pets and even our job title.
Years ago, I made being an elder just such a god. Why? Essentially because I had grown up with a poor opinion of my own self worth. When I began to work hard and succeed in my job, I drove forward even harder, while telling myself it was all for my wife and family. I even did this without realising it in Church too, and became a church leader for two years and held positions of leadership in various churches over many years. Finally, in one church I was put forward by the minister as one of four elders, and was the only one who didn’t get in. That resulted in anger and bitterness which was off the charts.
Above all I was angry with God. I even considered giving up on following God. I was acting like Jonah in chapter 4. It took about a year for me to understand that I had made eldership my god with a small ‘g’ and I never ever realised it until God sent my equivalent of the worm to eat my ‘plant’.
I wish I’d realised so much sooner. God was willing to show me, but I never thought to ask if I was worshipping a god with a small ‘g’, because I just assumed that I wasn’t. Please don’t make my mistake.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I really don’t want to be worshipping anything or anyone else other than You. Please reveal to me by Your Holy Spirit if I have a god with a small ‘g’ that is taking away the worship due to You alone. If there is, then please help me to bring it before You and pull it down so You can stand alone and supreme. Help me to see beyond what may appear as good and acceptable and to where my actual time, energy and focus is being directed. In Your precious name, Amen.
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