The God We Think God Should Be

Steven Rodriguez

Read: Exodus 20:4-6

You shall not make for yourself an idol. (v. 4 NRSV)

What does it mean to not make an idol? The easy answer: Don’t go the hardware store to buy a piece of lumber, carve a statue, put it in your living room, and bow down to it. But that answer is too easy. Let’s dig deeper into the second commandment.

Idolatry is when we try to make God be the god we think God should be. We don’t want a God who is totally different than us. We want God to look like us, to think and act like us, to like the people we like, to have the same values that we have. This is the deepest, darkest heart of idolatry, deeper than statues we bow before or money or fame or power or sex. This is the last and most insidious idol, the idol of ourselves.

At our sinful core, we don’t want a free God who surprises us with his grace; we want a god we can predict and control. We don’t want a God who is going to take us on a journey of transformation; we want a god who is going to let us comfortably stay right where we are. We don’t want a God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we want a god who is basically just me, myself, and I. But God wants more for us. Our free God wants us to be free from the tyranny of our wills, free to love him. —Steven Rodriguez

Prayer: God, help me to worship you instead of my version of you.