The website www.biblegateway.com has a “Verse of the Day” on its home page each day. I’m sure this was no accident, but the verse they chose for today is:
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.” Psalm 33:12 NIV
Our nation has moved so far away from the first part of that verse, it’s scary. I found one article in Wikipedia that says in 2009, 76-80 percent of Americans identified as Protestant or Catholic . So why would I make that first statement? Because there is a huge difference between a person who believes in God or belongs to a particular religion and a person “whose God is the Lord”, as the verse explains.
Here’s an analogy: I believe with all my heart that losing my excess weight would improve my health, my self-esteem, my outlook, and my energy level. I BELIEVE that. But if I don’t act on that belief, if I don’t make every effort to accomplish that goal, it doesn’t matter how hard I BELIEVE. I have to live that belief.
Same with God. Just saying that I’m a Christian and that “Of course I believe in God!” doesn’t cut it. The verse doesn’t say that a nation is blessed because of their belief that there is a God; it is blessed because its God is the LORD.
In other words, while there is only one God, there are plenty of “gods” in our lives today. The scriptures also call them “idols”.
Whoa, wait a minute! I’m not an idol worshipper! I don’t have any golden calves in my house!
Most of us would say that. But anything that takes the place of God in our lives IS an idol. Have you ever put off reading the Bible because there’s a great movie on TV tonight? Ever thought, we’ll skip church this Sunday because we’d rather go to the river? How about this one, from my own experience: I know I asked God to help me with my overeating, but one more cookie won’t hurt. Now we’ve made television, recreation, and food idols in our lives.
Now that you see where I’m going with this, you can probably think of a dozen other things we put before God every day. Money, success, having a big house or an expensive car, our jobs, even our spouses and children. God has to be more important than any of those things. When He is, all the other stuff will fall into place.
You might not be a millionaire, but you will have the money to pay your bills; you might not be successful in the world’s eyes, but a lot of people will know they can depend on you to do the right things; and really now, why dream about a huge house when all you really need is shelter?
I’m as guilty of having idols like these as anybody. My main idols are food and “stuff” – I usually want the latest and greatest little gadget out there (like a smart phone that I play solitaire on more than I use for calls!).
Our nation as a whole has chosen the gods of money, power, control, and positions over the one true God. Our government no longer operates on Godly principles; our leaders value power over doing what is right; people want to live on entitlements instead of an honest day’s work.
Until we collectively turn back to God and put Him back in the role He deserves as our spiritual leader, things will only get worse, I’m afraid.
So what does all this have to do with Independence Day? How about this – begin today to separate yourself from any idols in your life. Enjoy the freedom that God will give you when He is your LORD again. Break away from things that have held you down or gotten in the way of your relationship with God. By doing this, we can make EVERY day an Independence Day!
Until next time…