We all have a god. Whether we believe in the concept of a universal creator or whether we believe that everything we see and know (including ourselves) exists purely by the laws of nature with no purpose beyond that, everyone still has a god, or gods. These gods shape who we are and they deeply impact those around us, and once again this is a universal truth no matter what your concept of God actually is or isn't.
I'll first approach this from a religious sense. In Judaism, Islam, and Christianity the concept of god is a monotheistic one, the belief in one creator god who created all things seen and unseen by his will alone. In polytheistic religions you will find multiple gods, each with certain realms of power. In some religious traditions, the god one seeks is enlightenment and peace, and there are of course many more religious belief systems and many more examples. However, there is also a non-religious sense and it doesn't apply only to atheists. A god is something that you find your ultimate value in.
I had a recent phone call and it shook me because it involved someone questioning a relationship and implied that the person in question was more important to them than God. It's not that the person admitted this that shook me, but that it spoke to everything that was wrong with the picture. We are not gods. When we make another person our god, we are guaranteed to be let down at some point. Our love isn't perfect, our faithfulness isn't eternal, and our motives are never fully pure. If you were to argue against what I just said, you'd know deep inside that you were lying to yourself because we know our own hearts. The problem however isn't just for the person putting their hope in another as it also puts a pressure on the person who is relied upon that is impossible to bear. Knowing that you are responsible for the self worth of another is an unfair burden to place on anyone, and it will lead to pain in the end.
I think we all know that there are other gods we put our trust in as well, and once again these things can shape our lives. There are material gods for example including money and belongings. Jesus addressed these directly when He said, "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moth eats them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.Mt 6:19 NLT" The problem with these treasures, these gods if you will, is that if we devote our lives to them we will sacrifice almost anything, or anyone, to obtain them. There are also immaterial gods such as popularity and power, and once again their pursuit will leave all others in the background.
If you are reading this blog, there is a good chance that you know the lens through which I am approaching this topic. As a Christ follower I believe in a monotheistic God, a powerful creator who intimately cares for His creation. I believe in the person of Jesus Christ, God incarnate, the Son through whom the universe was created. I believe in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the counselor who lives inside those who have nailed their sins to Christ's cross and who have been cleansed by His shed blood. I don't often get caught up in religious sounding language, but this is the God I believe and trust in, revealed to us through the bible and it's important to be upfront about. With that said, I am writing this primarily to other Christ followers as we are in as much danger as anyone else in placing our hope in other gods.
As I write this, I can easily identify other gods I seek after. As I consider them, I realize the list is far too long to even include in this blog, even if I wasn't seeking after the god of being admired by others which prevents me from sharing my deepest secrets. Get the point? We all seek after different gods, and yet the one true God longs for us to seek after Him. He seeks after us so desperately that He devised a way to bring us back into relationship with Him when we turned our backs, and that way involved His own sacrifice that goes beyond what we could ever imagine. If the God who created all that is seen and unseen, and who knows your every word before you even say it (Ps 139) desires that much to be in relationship with you personally, just imagine what it truly means to find your ultimate value in Him alone. As for me, I'm praying for the trust to do that very thing....