Is God your God?

For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, (1 Thessalonians 1:9)

Surrounded by a world of unbelievers, we often sit smugly as Christians. We know the truth. We are not idolaters like them. We serve the true and living God, don't we? I don’t think many of us (including myself) would like God’s answer to that question.

Let me probe your heart a little. Is the one living and true God you profess with your lips actually your God? “Of course,” you say. “I believe the Bible."

I am not questioning your theology at this point, but your heart. Let me ask the question again in another way. Does the God of the Bible function as your God? Does He rule your heart? Is He the one you trust and obey?

Jesus teaches we are ruled by what we value most (Luke 6:45). Your treasure is your functional god. You can say you believe in the God of the bible, but if He isn’t your greatest treasure then He isn’t your God. This is why the Bible links covetousness with idolatry (Colossians 3:5). We worship what we desire most.

In order to have God as our God, He must be our greatest treasure and satisfaction. The commands of the Bible are in line with this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30); “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4); “delight yourself in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4); “praise the Lord”. The Bible even defines evil in this regard.

Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:11-13)

God is described as the fountain of living waters. He is the ultimate thirst quencher. In Him is full and lasting satisfaction. But what did God’s people do? They changed their god. They turned their backs to the fountain of living water and began building cisterns for their satisfaction. How many of us have done the same thing, digging cisterns in the form of food or sports or family or sex or computer games or shopping or music or personal success or drugs or alcohol or… (the list could go on indefinitely)?

What do we find when we try to drink from our cisterns? Empty promises. They are always broken. They cannot hold water and so are never ultimately satisfying. In that regard, it is foolish to turn from God to seek our satisfaction in other things. But in Jeremiah 2:11-13, God doesn’t call it folly, He calls it evil. It is evil to not find our satisfaction in the fountain of living waters.

In light of this, our need is obvious. We need repentance. We need to be like the Thessalonians who turned from idols to serve the living and true God. And here is the good news. The heart change we need is provided for us in Jesus. Through Him, God has promised to do an idolatry cleansing, heart transforming, supernatural work in His people so that He will truly be God in their lives.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

It is not wrong to want to be happy, just as it’s not wrong to feel hungry. God made us that way. But He meant our desire for happiness to find its satisfaction in Himself. When that happens, God will be God and we will be most happy. Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!

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