When you read through the Old Testament we see the Israelites continually fall away from the true God and to false gods of their making. In my mind I wonder how that can be but then I realize that I do the same thing except my gods look a little different than theirs. We all have a tendency to put our trust or hope in something or someone else besides God.
Easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into Heaven
Some have tried to make this not as bad as it sounds but Jesus was being honest that the things of this world are the reason many people miss God.We have a tendency to turn to our earthly gods instead of the true God. We really have no need for God in America because we can work things out on our own with our own resources instead of turning to God.
Just like the Rich young ruler we walk away from the one who can give us eternal life because we think these other things give us life.
Your earthly gods will keep you from God
In these gods we trust (Adapted from gods at War by Kyle Idleman)
A) Government: Many people make the government their god in hopes that it will bring them a better tomorrow. They say, “If only we can get so and so voted in” then our lives will be better. God has been down this path before when people trusted in Kings instead of Him.
Hosea 13:10 Where now is your king, to save you in all your cities? Where are all your rulers—those of whom you said, “Give me a king and princes”?
Government officials will constantly fail us but God never will.
B) Food: Do you have comfort food?
We say this food is heavenly or to die for because we value our food more than God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
C) Entertainment: How much money do you spend on entertainment a year?
Cable television, Gaming systems, Sporting events, concerts , Facebook, and music?
Do we get as excited about God as we do our entertainment? Do we post our experience with God all over Facebook like we do the events we attend?
When it comes to sporting events our moods are determined by people that probably do not share our same views politically and or religiously but we cheer them on without even considering the more important issues of this life.
The word amusement means lack of reflection or inspiration. We seek amusement so we do not have to think. Entertainment is not bad as long as you are not using it to fill a void that you should be going to God for.
Read the book of Ecclesiastes to see the end result of Solomon search for pleasure. Vanity vanity all is vanity (Worthless)
D) Success: Do you feel good about yourself by comparing yourself to others?
We look at how many trophies we have and what we have accomplished. The problem with success is that Success changes depending on your definition of success. You can be rich but someone will be richer, you can be strong but someone can be strong, you can have records but they will be broken. The rich young ruler was successful in the world’s eyes but not in Gods eyes.
Success to a Christian should be to hear Jesus say “Well done my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21)
E) Achievement: Do you always have to be busy?
Some people get their self worth by thinking that if they get enough done in the day then they will be accepted or valued. They say things like, “You had 3 test today I had 4 and had to work” It is always a comparison game and who has done more or is busier.
Read Luke 10:40-42 and see how Mary made a better decision than Martha.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
We are a people that does not celebrate being still or quiet but by doing so then we trust that God is handling things for us.
F) Money: Do you believe you will be happy if you have just a little more money?
See Luke 12:16-19 and see what happened to a man who was not satisfied with what he had.
G) Romance: Are you looking for someone to fulfill your deepest needs?
Our world is into the romance novels and movies that end with “and they lived happier ever after.” Romance novels sell by the millions as people live in a fantasy world of what true love can be.
People believe “If you don’t have a prince then you cannot be a princess.”
It is this chasing after this perfect relationship that leaves many people disillusioned and divorced. Maybe I married the wrong person or maybe they were not my soul mate. Even Christians have bought into Greek Mythology that teaches the gods split people in have leaving them to long for each other on this earth until they find their perfect match. Of course true love is a choice not a feeling. True love is a commitment not based on circumstances.
Do you really believe you are incomplete without a mate?
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
Our goal should not be to get something from our spouses but to serve our spouses. When you need something from someone else they will let you down and then it will lead to more disillusionment in your life.
If you are going into any relationship thinking the person is going to fulfill something in your life then you have put them in god status.
H) Family: who does your life revolve around?
Parents know too often that children can let them down and break their heart. But when you make your children your god then it makes it even worse. Our job as parents is not to worship our children or put our emotional happiness into how they behave. Our job is to raise them up to be Christ followers.
Children can be a joy but if you are looking to them to have joy you have made them a god.
Little league games and Beauty pageant shows are a prime example of parents putting everything into their kids.
See Genesis 22 and see how God tested Abraham to see if his child was his god. God tested Abraham to see if God was number one or if Abrahams son was number one. God did not test Abrahams commitment to his money or possessions even though Abraham was wealthy and owned a lot of things.
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
WE are to love our family but not as much as we love God. When you worship family over God then you can be detoured from what God has called us to do.
Family is your first ministry but not your first priority
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
(See Also John 3:16)
God sees what your family needs and HE loves them more than you do.
I) Me: It’s about my feelings, my wants, my desires, my comfort.
Genesis 3:5 “and you will be like God” The same temptation Adam and Eve had we have every day that we are the masters of our own universe.
Arrogance: I am always right
Insecurity: I wonder what others think of me
Defensiveness: I have to be perfect so I must defend my flaws.
Ezekiel 28:2 “Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god,
I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,’ yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god—
I believe part of the health craze has made us more about us.(every commercial is about how you can better yourself) You can be so into you and your wants that you miss that we are to be about loving God and loving others.
Who then can be saved? The person who sees themselves as they truly are, the way God sees them.
Jewish belief was that money was given to those who God was blessing. But when you believe you can save yourself then you lose focus on the person you really are. When you believe you are god then you will not see yourself as you need to.
Revelation 3:17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
See also 1Timothy 6:17
With Man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
Salvation can only come through God (Ephesians 2:8-9) Only God could make the way for us to be back in a right relationship with Him.
Look we have left everything to follow you, what then will we have?
There is debate whether Peter, because of his grandiose personality, was bragging or if he was legitimately concerned that they were doing it the right way. We came on your terms didn’t we? Jesus does not rebuke Peter and goes on to answer his question so it seems that Peter has a legitimate question. God knows that we wonder about the things we are sacrificing today for Him and He lets us know that what we give up in this life we will be rewarded for in the next.
At the New World
Jesus is pointing toward the future when He makes all things new again. Jesus points them to the future and the end result. Just like we push through with College or a Doctorate degree because we know in the end it will be worth it.
The bible predicts a time when changes will come to the earth and everything as we know it now will be changed. The Bible tells us that the earth is in pain waiting for the day that Christ returns. New world literally means a new birth.
2 Peter 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies[a] will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.[b]11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
We tend to put our focus on things that will one day be gone. Like a child who treasures a toy that will one day be worthless and destroyed we to put our hope and joy in things that will no longer be worth anything.
We will sit on thrones with Jesus
This is showing the end time rule of Christ. He came the first time as a servant He will come the second time as a King. This is a prophecy of Daniel 7: 13-14 See Also 1 Corinthians 6:2-3, Revelation 3:21; 20:4-6; and 22:5
Regardless of what all this means with the judging and the ruling of Christ Jesus main point is that we will be rewarded. Rewards were a big part of the Sermon on the mount and how we will be truly blessed.
Everyone who has left things for my sake will receive a hundred times back …
Matthew 6:1-6 Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
God is going to reward us for praying when no one else knew we were praying.
This verse says giving to poor and praying not being busy for Christ is what we will be rewarded for.
Family and Possessions are the two listed by Christ that are things we have to make sure are not our gods in our lives. For the Jews it cost them both to become followers of what was thought of as a cult. This was a big deal to a culture where family meant everything.
If we knew what we were gaining then what we let go of would be no big deal
John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
To follow Jesus means that you have to let go of all the things that this world counts as precious.
Inherit Eternal Life: a life that means more than living forever
The greatest thing we gain is eternal life and this is not just a life that lives forever but a life that is beyond compare. This was the life the rich young man was after and yet it is the one thing he passed up.
This life is given to you because you cannot earn it.
The first will be last and the last will be first
I believe many people will be shocked when we get to Heaven as to what God really rewards in this life. There is a lot of people doing good works but they are not the things of God and therefore will not be rewarded by God.
The possessions, many we listed already, lie to us and say they will bring us life but in the end they only leave us empty longing for something more. Just like the Rich young Ruler who had everything, there was still something lacking in his life.
Even though we know they are false gods we tend to continue to search after them because there is still something in our brains that tell us they will bring happiness. God gives us money but not for it to bring us happiness but to be used for His purposes. God gives us success but not for us to bring glory to ourselves but to Him. God gives us achievements, food and romance but if we are looking to them to do what only God can then we will find ourselves empty.
The key is where our focus is, eternal or temporal.
What has become a god in your life?
Do you have things that are pulling you away from God?
Look through the list of gods and see if one of those has become a god in your life and give it to God.