Thursday, September 21, 2006

By Definition, Who Are You?

A few years back, I was crazed about video games. I let them rule my life. When I would get together with friends, I would talk about them. When I would be at home with nothing else to do, I would play them. They were the most important things to me. They were all I talked about, all I did, and all I wanted to do. When I could have been spending time with my family, or in God’s Word, I would be up in my room playing N64 or Xbox, or some other computer game. It was my life. It was who I was…

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”

I think that if I were to ask you, you would probably say that you don’t have a little golden idol hidden away in your room. You don’t go up there and bow down and worship it every morning and evening. You don’t pray to this statue, and worship it. Therefore, you’re already keeping this commandment, right?

Now this may seem like a silly question to some of you. I know that most of you know the answer. But it is something I believe we must all be reminded of constantly.

What does God mean when He says, “You shall have no other gods before me?” Does He mean, “Don’t go making yourself any golden idols and don’t worship them?” Well, sure He does. But that’s not all that this verse is saying.

What this verse is truly talking about is found in our hearts, not in our closets. What in your heart is taking the place of God? What in your heart are you focusing on more than God? It doesn’t have to be something bad. It can be something very good, but if it is taking the place of God, you have elevated it too high.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Is there anything that you love more than God with all your heart, soul, and might? If there is, it has become a god to you.

Look at how much we should love Him. We should teach these words to our children. We should talk of them when we sit in our houses, and when we walk by the way, and when we lie down, and when we rise.

Basically, He is saying that this should be your life. Your life should be lived for God. He should be the One true desire in your heart that you are focusing your entire life on.

Matthew 6:24 says, ““No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

In this case, Christ is speaking specifically about money, but this verse can be applied to all aspects of our lives. We must realize that if we are not living for God, then we are living for something or someone else. If we love one, we will hate the other. If we love, say, money for instance, we will hate God. Now, God is not saying that money is evil (although the Bible does say that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil), but what He is saying, is that we cannot live for one desire and also live for God. We can focus our lives on one thing and one thing only. What is it going to be for you?

Now you may be saying, “I love God. I don’t have any desires competing with God.” This may or may not be true, but given our sinful nature, I would guess that for the most part, there will always be something at least fighting to gain control.

Scripture says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” What do you talk about the most? What do you most enjoy to talk about? Is it God, or is it something else?

The thing that you talk about the most will be the thing that you treasure most in your heart. If it is not God, then it should be seen as an idol or another god. You are treasuring it more than God.

What do you spend your free time doing? Playing video games? Spending time online? Watching TV? Hanging out with friends? Listening to music?

Or, do you spend your free time seeking out God, whether in fellowship, or in His Word, or in worship, or in prayer?

Now, I’m not saying that you should always be talking about God, and that it would be a sin to talk about anything else. But, what are you talking about most? What are you doing the most? How much time are you spending in God’s Word compared to the time spent doing other things? defined Christian in a number of ways. One of them was this:

Christian: a person who exemplifies in his or her life the teachings of Christ

Who are you? If your life were defined by what you do, who would you be? I was once a video gamer. Many things have changed. In fact, now, I don't even like video games. But there are always things competing for my heart. I pray for help, and strive to be defined as a Christian, as one who exemplifies the teachings of Christ. Sometimes I am, sometimes I’m not. Are you defined as a Christian (according to



Peter Wilson said...

Very encouraging to read Josh. Thanks.

Alex Jordan Harris said...

Excellent post, Josh. Keep up the good work!

Juli said...

Wow, that was excellent! All such good reminders... and a lot of it really hits home. I love learning from my little brothers! :-D

Sam B. said...

To expand on your point about money:

When the Bible says that "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil," it's obviously not condemning money itself (as you said). It's condemning the love of money. As many wise people have said, things like money and music and books are all inherently neutral. As Bob Kauflin is fond of saying, "There is no sinful chord." It's what we do with the money or music or books that make them good or evil. So if we love money too much, we're placing it higher than God. If we love music too much, we're placing that higher than God.

You see my point. As always, God is looking at the heart. That's exactly the point you made in your post, but I just thought I'd expound on it a little bit. Thanks for the great post, Josh!

Lydia said...

thank you, josh! this was wonderful. Keep it up with the scriptures too, they're perfect for writing out to remind myself every day.

John C said...

Ditto what everyone else said. Josh and Sam, thanks for taking leadership and reminding us of the main thing. I respect you guys!

elizabeth z said...

this is one of the first times ive had the time to read an entire post on here and i think its really great. it was really encouraging.

woodi said...

Great post! What I love about this blog is that I go to it to learn about God. It is rich in truth (even if we take 33 comments to arrive at the truth).

Paulucus said...

wow Josh. That one didn't incite as much conversation as the last post. very well done though.

A few comments.

You said "Now, I’m not saying that you should always be talking about God, and that it would be a sin to talk about anything else. But, what are you talking about most?" I agree with what you said, but I think that it may be misleading the way that you said it. no, not everything we say must be 'about' God, but everything we say or do must be glorifying to God (1 cor 10:31). thankfully, God is glorified by our enjoyment of his good gifts and fellowship with the saints.

Josh T said...

Thank you Paul, and I whole-heartedly agree.