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The God of Me

“Thou thoughtest,” saith the Lord, “that I was altogether such an one as thyself.  But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.”  (Psalm 50:21)

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There are roughly forty-five words in the dictionary that are derived from the word self, indicating that we are a very self-aware people.  The word self is often put before a word to describe the character of a person.  A person can be self-centered, self-conscious, self-absorbed, self-confident, self anything.  But the one word most wouldn’t believe to be a description of themselves, is self-idolizing.  When we think of a person who idolizes themselves, we usually think of someone who “thinks much higher of themselves than they ought” and worships the ground they, themselves, walk on.  Making an idol of self actually runs much deeper than that.  A. W. Tozer (The Knowledge of the Holy) observes, “Idolatry is when a man assumes that God is other than He is, and substitutes for the true God one made after his own likeness.  This god will always conform to the image of the one who created it, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges.”  In essence, idolatry is creating an image of God to serve the desires, wants or needs of self, and then bowing down to the image of the god we have created to serve us.  Our own thoughts and opinions of what God is like, what he feels and thinks, create an idol within us of our own making that distorts the true image of God, causing us to worship the false idol of self.  “Thou thoughtest,” saith the Lord, “that I was altogether such an one as thyself.”

From the beginning of time man has preferred to worship a god of his own imagination, rather than to worship the image of the one true God.  The first mention of the word imagination can be found in Genesis 6:5 and reads, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  Man elevated his thoughts above God’s thoughts and the consequence was “evil imaginations continually” in the heart of man.  When speaking of idols, God said, “They have mouths, but they cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see, ears, but they cannot hear, and those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.”  Jesus, in similar fashion, when describing those who were not receptive to truth, said, “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.  You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”  That kind of sounds like God’s description of an idol to me, only this idol is not made of wood, but of flesh and blood.  This idol is the idol of self.  Worshipping the idol of self will make a person unable to clearly perceive the truth.  Jason Henderson (Not I, But Christ), writes, “You are an expression of whatever view of truth is working in your soul.”  This is so true.  God said of idols, “Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.”   Those who make an idol in the image of themselves will become like the idol they make.  They will be an expression of whatever view of truth is working in their soul, and all those who trust in them, will be like them.  The answer as to why those worshipping the idol of self will “hear and not understand” and “see but not perceive” lies in God’s words to Isaiah – “A deluded heart misleads them.”  What a man conceives God to be like in his heart, creates the image of the god he worships.

Our concept of God must be based upon the true nature of God, and not upon our own lowly opinions influenced by what we desire him to be.  Tozer writes, “Worship is pure or base as the worshipper entertains high or low thoughts of God.”  Our worship of God becomes base when we reduce God to being on the same level as ourselves.  Paul wrote, “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”  They knew God’s nature, but rather than glorify him as he was, they became vain in their imaginations of him.  They imagined him to be other than he was.  They imagined him to be such an one as themselves.  Our imaginations of God come from our own foolish and darkened hearts.  In Isaiah 44 God reminds us – “Remember these things, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel.  I have made you, you are my servant.”  It is he who has made us, not we who have made him.  We must be conformed to his image, rather than he being conformed to ours.  To cast God into the mold of an image of our own making, is to forge a god of self and worship at its feet.   Tozer cautions, “To believe that God is different than what he actually is, is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind.”

To worship the idol of self, is to imagine things about God out of our own needs and wants, and then act as if they were true.   Entertaining wrong ideas about God is both idolatrous and dangerous.   It is dangerous because when the true image of God is distorted in the heart of man, the moral standards of man decline along with it.  We have but to look around our world today to see the evidence of that truth.  There is only one way to be sure we are not forging an idol of self.  Jesus said,”No man knows the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”  We must come to know God as the Son reveals him, through the Spirit, and not as our imagination wants him to be, led by our flesh.  And here is where the dilemma lies, and idols rise; the light of truth cannot penetrate the heart of a person who chooses to continue walking in darkness.  Jesus said, “If any man will to do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.”  We can know whether or not something is of God by reading the word of God.  The word of God is the truth of God, but before we can know the truth of the doctrine, before we can see it with our eyes, hear it with our ears, perceive it with our hearts, we must first will to do his will concerning it.

Every idol that man casts has self at its very core.  As Tozer observes, “An inward principle of self lies at the source of human conduct, turning everything men do into evil.  Self is a usurper who sits on a stolen throne.”  The throne of man’s heart belongs to God, but self always seeks to displace his rightful reign there.   The Apostle Paul charges that we, “cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”  A “high thing” is an idol.  The idol of self exalts the imagination of man above the true knowledge of God.  The only way to cast down the idol of self-imagination is to bring every thought, every opinion that comes from within ourselves, captive to the obedience of Christ.  The word of God reveals the nature of God.  Having and accepting thoughts or opinions about God that are contrary to God’s word, form the makings of an idol in our heart.  An idol of self has many manifestations, but its essence is one – “a moral being, created to worship before the throne of God, sits on the throne of his own self-hood and from that elevated position declares, I AM.”  (Tozer).  In the words of the Apostle John, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”

THE GOD OF ME

I once had an idol that I carried everywhere
I even took him with me upon my knees in prayer
We would bow down together there on bended knee
As I lifted up my prayers to the God of Me
I knew my god would accept me and I could stay the same
Even if  it meant that sin in me could remain
I knew he would forgive me and that he would forget
Each and every sin I would willfully commit
I knew in many ways that he was much like myself
And that he was said to be a god of infinite wealth
So I knew he wanted to bless me with great prosperity
And that made it okay for me to keep more than I need
I knew he would understand because he knew my heart
If I followed the ways of the world and did not come apart
For he knew that though I wanted to be pleasing in his sight
Sometimes I preferred the darkness rather than the light
I knew that his desire was his image in me to see
And that he be everything my heart could ever conceive
So in order that he be all that I imagined him to be
I transformed his image that it might look more like me
I knew it wasn’t God’s true image but I put that one on a shelf
Because I very much preferred this god I forged of self
So I became an idol with eyes that could not see
Ears that could not hear, and a heart that could not perceive
I became an idol and worshipped the god of Me

 

 

 

One Comment Post a comment
  1. So well said! Thank you!
    Ron Bouchard
    http://www.theburningheart.com

    Like

    May 16, 2019

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