The created things of this world typically fall into one of three categories, according to Steve Hoppe. They are: god, garbage, or gift. Here’s the deal: God created us in a such a way that we are shaped by what we worship and serve as ‘god’.
For example, if we say “Aaron’s ‘god’ is sports.” What kind of comment are we making? We’re probably saying Aaron really, really, really likes sports. He probably watches a ton of it. Maybe he plays just as much. Very likely underneath the visible behavior are strong intellectual and emotional connections. He probably thinks and talks about sport frequently and gets irritated if life causes him to miss out on them. And then, consider the effects of this on his relationships with people. Perhaps there are friends in his life who get neglected or become the objects of his testiness due to missed sporting opportunities. Very likely his euphoric celebrations aren’t reserved for the accomplishments of loved ones, but rather are directed towards the achievements of his favorite teams.
So once we get done fleshing out what Aaron’s behavior is like with sports serving as his functional god, what kind of person has Aaron become? There comes a point when we are no longer describing isolated behavior, but concentrated character. Sports, as god, have shaped Aaron.
I don’t mean to pick on sports. We could use sex, money, politics, causes, or any number of examples. When good things become ultimate things, they have become ‘god’. And our ‘gods’ always affect us.
Whatever you worship, will form you.
Whatever receives your best thinking and emoting, will influence you.
Whatever gets your loyal attention, will mold you.
Don’t believe me?
But their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk,
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them. – Psalm 115:4-8
We become like what we worship.
There is a call to action here. What ‘gods’ are you serving? How are they shaping you? Take a look at your behavior, thoughts, and emotions – whom do they seem to be employed in the service of?
Before the day is done, get your nose in God’s Word. Lift up your face to the heavens and pray to the Lord. Encourage a loved one.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15-16