The God of America
The most worshiped god in America today isn’t the true God, Yahweh. It’s not any of the “popular” false gods like Allah, the Mormon god(s), the god of the Jehovah Witnesses, or even any of the millions of gods of the Hindu religion. And as much as there seems to be a bit of a resurgence of Satanism in our midst, not even Satan is worshiped like the god I’m talking about.
The most worshiped god in America today is the god of self. This god is a shapeshifter in that he or she will imitate the false gods of other religions and has even impersonated the God of the Bible. But, at the end of the day, this god is derived from the pit of the human heart and is relentless in his or her demand for worship.
How We Got Here
Most of our readers know the story of Adam and Eve and the fall of man, but let’s revisit Genesis 3 for a moment. The serpent essentially implies to Eve that God is holding back on them and if that she will just take the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that she and Adam will become like God (Genesis 3:5).
Eve saw the tree was “to be desired to make one wise she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:6). I highlight the “make one wise” aspect, not at the neglect of the rest of the text, but only to emphasize Eve’s desire to be like God.
In Genesis 1 and 2, God created male and female in His image. In Genesis 3 onward, male and female have attempted to return the favor – that is, creating a god in their image. We see this again in Genesis 4 when Cain feels he has the right to destroy a life—and Lamech not only does the same but also feels he has the right to take on multiple wives.
The point is, since the fall of man in Adam, men and women have been in love with the god of self.
The Selfie Generation
Older generations like to make fun of all the selfies millennials take, and to an extent, that’s warranted. However, the selfie generation in America was here much earlier than the 1980s. The god of self didn’t come along with the iPhone. The iPhone is a fruit of idol worship, not the root of it.
The key attribute of the god of self is autonomy. Essentially autonomony means that “I get to do what I want because I am me. There is no one more important than me. In fact, you can’t spell awesome without ME” (I know, Taylor Swift song reference).
“Me” rules the NFL, MLB, and NBA. Me rules across socioeconomic, gender, and ethnic barriers. Me rules in all 50 states. The god of self reigns in Planned Parenthood and the LGBTQ+ movement. We see it in parents who demand to know why the teacher gave Johnny a bad grade and why Suzie didn’t get as much playing time in basketball as Sally.
But these aren’t the only places Me lives.
Self in the Local Church
So many professing believers today worship a god who is okay with sinful lifestyles. He is fine with a lack of commitment to the local church. He doesn’t care if the Bible is cherished. In fact, this god promises heaven without any other conditions or requirements.
Me shows up in a lot of contemporary Christian music. And in the business meetings of traditional-style churches. Me wants the recognition, accolades, and applause. Me turns the sanctuary lights off and focuses the spotlight on center stage. Me shows up in sermons, bible studies, and prayer requests.
Too many local churches have a Me problem.
The solution to the Me problem is the cross. Self must be crucified, never to be resurrected (Gal. 2:20). Christ is King. And in His humble life, substitutionary death, and victorious resurrection Jesus has atoned for our sins, including that of self-idolatry.
Therefore, let us repent of making life about Me, and let us set our affections upon Christ. Me will not save. But Jesus is a wholly sufficient all-satisfying Savior, King, Friend, and Lord. But we don’t get to pick and choose which of those He is for us. He is all or nothing.
And if Christ is King, then Philippians 2:1-11 is a reality for us. Let us consider one another more significant than self.