GUEST BLOG: A YOUNG CHRISTIAN’S VIEW
Austyn Riley, now in his early 20’s and starting his career, has grown up at Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas where I have been pastor for 17 years. I have known Austyn since he was in the 2nd grade. In the last few years, since graduating from college, Austyn has grown much more committed to Christ and the calling of God upon his life. I have asked him to write a “guest Blog” on anything he cared to choose. He chose to write this convicting and direct challenge to a one sided view of God which leads to a kind of idolatry. He calls his Blog entry, “The Supremacy of God.”
THE SUPREMACY OF GOD
What do you think is the biggest problem in our churches today? Greed? Lust? Pornography? Pride? Alcohol or drug addiction? All of the above? Personally, I think the real problem with Christians today is the sin of idolatry.
But wait… idolatry is defined as “the worship of a physical object as a god.” How can that be the biggest problem in the church? We don’t worship physical objects anymore. Sure, back in the day, when Abraham, Solomon, and Daniel roamed the earth, this was a big problem. But now, we’re much more civilized than that, right? I don’t think so.
Idolatry has also been defined as “immoderate attachment or devotion to something.” Now that sounds more like us. Greed is not our main problem, but if we idolize greed and the things we desire, those things becomes more important to us than God is. And that makes greed a big problem. Lust is not the problem either, but if we care more about sex or finding a spouse than we do about serving God, it becomes the problem. Every sin can be traced back to some kind of idolatry. By letting our priorities get out of sync and putting something else where God deserves to be, we commit a sin of idolatry and relegate God to a place He does not deserve to be.
So why do we do this? Why do we constantly push God further down our list of priorities? Why do we worship things that He has created instead of God himself? I think it’s because we have a grave misunderstanding of who God is. Growing up in church and a private Christian school, I was always taught about the merciful, loving God who saved me from hell. But I don’t ever remember hearing anything about God ordering the death of all the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15), regretting that He ever created mankind (Genesis 6), or killing Ananias and Sapphira for their sin (Acts 5).
Both the loving forgiveness and the perfect righteousness of God are equally beautiful and equally important traits that we desperately need to understand. By only focusing on His loving side and ignoring His perfection, we have essentially created a “hippie Jesus” who just wants to love everybody and see us all be happy. This is not Jesus. This is not biblical. Likewise, if we just focus on God’s perfection and wrath, we totally remove love from the equation. That’s not Jesus, either. And it’s not the gospel.
Jesus Christ is the currently reigning King of the universe who loves us more than we could ever imagine and hates our sin just as much. Because of that love, He took on the wrath of God that we deserved and absolutely everything we do should be in service and adoration of Him. By misunderstanding who God actually is and what He has done for us, we miss the point of the gospel and we think it’s all about us. It’s not about us, it’s about Him. Everything is about Him. Once we realize that, we can stop idolizing ourselves and we are able to put God where He deserves to be, at the center of everything. God is the supreme ruler of the universe and we should treat Him as such.
This supremacy of God is by far the most impactful thing I have learned in my spiritual life in the past year. I hope that all of you who read this will take a serious look at your own heart and contemplate whether you are serving God or just using Him. If He truly is the Lord of your life and everything you do is for Him, awesome! Keep on serving and chasing after Him. If not though, I hope you will bow before Him today and sincerely ask: what can I do for you, King Jesus? Not the other way around.
~ Austyn Riley