By Brooke Holt
“Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, ‘for in him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:27-28
The first two of the Ten Commandments focus on worship: “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or, that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20: 3-4). While these commandments are quite clear, God’s people fall short of obeying them time and time again. Sadly, our hearts can be quite fickle and easily led astray to worship the created instead of the Creator. The Bible calls this idolatry. It means to love, honor, and worship someone or something above God.
In today’s scripture from Acts, Paul is addressing the people in Athens. These Athenians were notorious for worshiping many gods. Paul quotes from a hymn written to Zeus when he writes “for in him we live and move and have our being”. While these poetic words were quite beautiful, Paul quoted them to expose the nature of the Athenians’ disordered worship.
Paul wanted these Athenians to understand the goodness and godliness of their desire to worship as God created them to worship. But Paul calls them away from the worship of idols to the worship of the one true God, the same God who longed to reveal himself to the Athenians just as he had to Paul.
Paul explained the Lord alone fulfilled these beautiful words written to Zeus. The Lord gave breath and life to every person; the Lord sustained that life; and the Lord dwelt within the hearts of his children through the Holy Spirit.
Paul called his listeners in Athens to turn from idolatry, and the Lord calls you to do the same today. Far too often, humans fall prey to the worship of lesser gods. These are the gods of comfort, busyness, money, success, beauty, children, etc. You can recognize the idols of your life by the things that consume you, direct you, and control you. The way out of idolatry is the way of repentance, a turning from those things and coming back to the Lord.
Like the Athenians, you were created to worship. Will your worship idols or the one true God?
To use the words of the poet, in whom or what do you live and move and have your being? What defines you and directs you – the true God or a lesser god in the form of an idol? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope. Learn more about Honest Prayer
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