The second reason people change the living God for worthless idols, is because He does not fit the mold we’ve fashioned for Him. Men have this image of God in their minds, they’ve already sketched Him out on the tablets of their hearts, and if the true God does not fit their preconceived notion of Him, they change the living God to another who will.
Jesus had just fed five thousand men with nothing more than five barley loves and two small fish, His disciples had already gathered up the fragments that remained which totaled twelve baskets, and the men that had seen the signs were whispering among themselves that this truly was the Prophet who was to come into the world. Then something happened. Because in their mind’s eye the Prophet that was to come would lead them in the physical, He would be a great general and a great king, they wanted to make Jesus into something they wanted Him to be.
John 6:15, “Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, he departed again to a mountain by Himself alone.”
God said, ‘I am that I am’ not ‘I am what you want me to be!’ Forty five verses later, in the gospel according to John, the selfsame individuals who wanted to make Him king, considered Him a heretic because He had said, ‘I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.’ – John 6:51
Even many of His disciples, those who walked with Him, walked with Him no more, because the words of Jesus were not understood by them. ‘How can this man give us His flesh to eat?’ it doesn’t compute, He’s not what we thought Him to be, not what we wanted Him to be, and so, we’ll walk with Him no more.
This is the ultimate danger of believing Jesus to be something that He is not; it leads us to change gods, because in our mind’s eye He was supposed to be that one thing, and nothing more. Who do you think Jesus is? Who do you want Jesus to be? Is the Jesus you serve the Jesus of the Bible, the one who said that in this world we would have tribulation, the one who said that if the world hated Him it would hate us, the one who said that we must daily deny ourselves and pick up our crosses, or the Jesus of prosperity and self-esteem, and positivity, and lawlessness?
If your Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible, if your Jesus is something you’ve fashioned in your mind’s eye, the second your Jesus doesn’t live up to your expectations, the second your Jesus no longer fits into the mold you’ve fashioned for Him, you will change Him for worthless things and dead idols.
The third reason people change the living God for worthless idols, is because they are shocked, surprised, and overwhelmed when the way of the true God turns out to be a way of suffering, of hardship, of tears, and of self-renunciation rather than the midsummer’s jaunt through the rose petals they were told that it would be.
We are not doing anyone any favors by presenting them with a false version of Jesus, we are not doing anyone any favors by telling them that if they come to Christ, He’ll be their lifelong Zoloft, that they’ll never shed another tear, chip another nail, have another bill they can’t pay, or ever again have family disputes. We present a false Christ to the masses, because we think He is more palatable that way, we present a false Christ to the masses, because we think that it’s the only way to grow our ‘ministries’, we present a false Christ to the masses, because the true Christ is too controversial, too provocative, too contentious, too scandalous, and we are after all, civilized folks who don’t need the headache of another controversy or scandal.
So we present the eternally tolerant Jesus, the eternally optimistic Jesus, the eternally positive Jesus, the Jesus who just can’t wait to bless your socks off and give you everything your wicked heart ever desired, because who wouldn’t want that kind of Jesus in their lives?
Shame on us for reducing Jesus to nothing more than a magic genie that we call upon whenever we need something, shame on us for reducing Jesus to a blind deaf mute, who sees nothing, who hears nothing, and who says nothing when the sin in our lives is pulling us ever deeper toward the bottom of the pit.
Matthew 10:34-38, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
We are not worthy of Him if we do not prize Him above all else in our lives, we are not worthy of Him if we do not surrender ourselves to His will in totality, nor are we worthy of Him if we do not take up our crosses and follow after Him.
He promised us eternity, He promised us heaven with Him for all time, yet we are so focused on the here and now, this flesh, and the pleasures of this flesh having so much preeminence in our daily lives, that we discount the eternal, for the temporal, the passing, the vain and the futile.
God help us!
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.