Romans 1:23 They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images that look like mortal humans: birds, animals, and reptiles.
Perhaps the single biggest sin, besides the original sin in the Garden of Eden, which humans have committed against God, is that of the worship of other God’s.
The first commandment states: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You must have no other gods before me.”
What part of “You must have no other gods before me” is difficult to understand? God is one. There is no other. But what are these gods?
Over the years, humans have decided to worship different deities that had different functions but not one of them had all of the aspects of deity rolled into one. The Romans had Mars, the god of war, Venus the goddess of love, and Neptune, the god of the seas but they did not have one God who embodied everything. Even the Greek god Zeus had his limitations and himself was a created being by yet another god or titan.
The problem with gods is that they have limitations.
Just because you don’t have a shrine to Zeus or Venus doesn’t mean that you don’t worship other gods in your life. Gods come in many different forms.
Often we treat our money and finances as a god. We believe that we need money. We believe that without money, we cannot live. We treat money with respect and honor. We believe that money provides for our needs and we believe we must sacrifice our time, relationships, and sometimes even our health to get more and more money. This sounds an awful lot like worship, doesn’t it?
There is an even larger god that has become the object of man’s worship over the years. We, as human beings, have made ourselves out to be god. We worship humanity and ourselves. When we do something good, when we accomplish or achieve something, we tend to congratulate ourselves and have some measure of pride in that accomplishment. Because we are proud of the accomplishment we say to ourselves “you did a good job”. We look at things like our employment and tell ourselves that it is because of our skills, experience, and intelligence that we got the job. This can be a form of self worship. This is where the individual self is the god. Moses warned the Israelites about this very thing in Deuteronomy 8:17-18 “Don’t think to yourself, ‘My own strength and abilities have produced all this prosperity for me.’ Remember the Lord your God! He’s the one who gives you the strength to be prosperous in order to establish the covenant he made with your ancestors”.
We tend to be self reliant. If any circumstance comes up, we are ready for the challenge. We say to ourselves: “You can do it.” Our focus tends to be on ourselves and our abilities to do something. This attitude, though, has helped man progress on this planet developing inventions and technology. The issue is that the attitude is one of self-worship. Deeming the self as the source of all ability and power, we have replaced God with man and thus we worship humanity above God.
A further form of self worship is when we look at any circumstance from a self-centered point of view. For instance: Something bad happens to you and you ask “why me?” The question comes from putting yourself in a place that says you are supreme and that this circumstance is beneath you, thus elevating yourself to a higher level. This too is self worship.
The focus of man’s worship has gone from theism to humanism in the course of the last 100 years. We have traded God for man. Humanity turns to humanity to solve its problems and answer its questions. The focus of humanity has gone from the one true deity to the self. We have come to rely on ourselves, and our own understandings to solve every problem we come across. Although man has made great strides forward in terms of technology, art, science, and philosophy, we have congratulated ourselves for these feats and not honored the one who gave us the understanding and the brain power to advance our civilization.
On a personal level, most human beings have turned inward and seek to advance themselves by their own will and power. They turn to self improvement experts who teach that the ultimate power comes from within; that the will can accomplish everything and anything.
The problem with seeking to look only to the self is that we as humans are not perfect and will always let ourselves down. With this comes disappointment leading to disillusionment and ultimately depression. Trying to fill this lack of satisfaction, the person turns to seek pleasure as a means of coping only to find that the more he experiences physical pleasure the more he sees it does not satisfy in and of itself. This is because seeking pleasure is a self-oriented activity and human beings are designed with the need to worship God.
Abandoning God for the worship of humanity or the self has consequences. Our alienation from God fuels our desire to please ourselves. Self pleasure is a never-ending pursuit because we are never satisfied with the pleasure we have but seek to have more pleasure. The human or humanity becomes the source of pleasure and we seek more and more of it, thus going around in circles.
Step out of the circle by focusing on the one true God who is outside of you and you begin to seek ways to please Him. By attributing all circumstances to the will of God, you no longer have the need to congratulate or honor yourself for neither good nor bad circumstances. Your point of view changes because your focus changes. By seeking to honor, worship and praise God for everything, you diminish your own importance in your life. By not having the need to rely on the self you no longer need to be disillusioned by yourself when a negative circumstance occurs. When everything is outside of your hands and in the hands of God, you no longer have the need to control anything. Giving up that control can be frightening at first, but with time it becomes easier and even more liberating. Your control of everything puts you in the place of God. It’s time to step off the throne and let God take over. Stop worshiping yourself and focus on God who is the only one that is to be worshiped.