"You shall have no other gods before me."--Exodus 20:3
This first commandment seems kind of antiquated. Western society today likes to laugh at any concept of God, categorizing such as silly superstition, uneducated, and certainly unscientific. So the point of this commandment is moot, right?
Ironically, as averse as society is to God, we are all to eager to build gods for ourselves: the primary god being the self.
We seek ... no, we demand instant gratification! That is the most important thing. We want all our pleasures satisfied and will worship at the alter of that which satisfies the quickest, though certainly not the completest. And so we ardently pursue cheap imitations of God.
There are those who believe God has no interest in our pleasures -- that he is the totalitarian disciplinarian, marching around with the proverbial hickory stick in hand ready injure those who pursue such vain endeavors. CS Lewis argued quite the opposite, however. He suggested that perhaps our problem is not that we seek our own pleasure, but that we are too easily satisfied. "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea," he wrote.
Our pursuit of pleasure is perhaps not the problem as much as the fact that our perspective is askew. We do not see things as they are and therefore seek to satisfy our desires with things that can never satisfy. We therefore make gods for ourselves out of worthless imitations.
That which we make out to be the gods of our lives become the lenses through which we perceive the world around us. Those lenses skew reality so we fail to see what is really important. That's why a mother can abandon her child for the god of drugs or alcohol, or sometimes even the "love" of a man who will only throw her away. That's why a father can abandon his family in pursuit of "happiness" with another woman.
Idols blind us. Regardless of whether it comes in the form of money, sex, success, ambition, or even ministry and service to God, idols blind us. And ANYTHING, no matter how good the thing, that takes our attention away from our relationship with the true God is an idol and will skew our perspective -- render us blind.
"If your power to see has been blinded, don't look back on your own experiences but look to God." Oswald Chambers exhorts. "It is God you need.Go beyond yourself and away from the faces of your idols and away from everything else that has been blinding your thinking."