Mistaken for Gods

Open Your Bible

Acts 14:1-28, Colossians 4:2-4, 2 Timothy 3:10-12

Golden calves, Zeus, crystals, wooden statues, and teen pop stars. What do all these have in common? All have been objects of worship. They have been admired, adored, and served. There’s no denying it—the human heart is drawn to worship. We yearn to be part of a bigger story, to pin our hopes on something outside ourselves. We are wired to look for something or someone more powerful that will help us flourish and make sense of life. The question is not, “Do I worship?” The question for each of us is, “What do I worship?” 

This makes sense when we remember that we were created as worshipping beings. Our loving Creator made us to reflect His image and to enjoy Him forever. We were made to be a part of God’s big story and to live in His power and presence. We are wired to flourish when we admire, adore, and serve the Lord above all else. 

But our hearts are darkened by unbelief and we begin to look for love and meaning in other, lesser places. We see this happening to the crowds in Lystra after Barnabas and Paul healed a disabled man. The Lystrans were star-struck. They were so impressed by the powerful miracle that they thought Barnabas and Paul must be the Greek gods Zeus and Hermes gracing them with their presence in human form. They began to worship and prepare sacrifices to them.

This was the opposite of the gospel Paul and Barnabas came to preach. Instead of recognizing and turning to the one true God, the crowds doubled down on their idolatry. Barnabas and Paul tore their clothes in anguish and pleaded with the crowd, “Turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them” (Acts 14:15).

Unbelief and confusion cloud our thinking as well. We may not worship Zeus or wooden statues, but we look for love, security, and meaning in other, lesser places, too. Let’s be honest and ask ourselves what we are tempted to bow down to today. What do I prioritize before all else? What dominates my calendar and my checking account? What keeps me up at night? What does my mind turn to before my head even lifts off the pillow in the morning? Who or what do I feel like I can’t live without?

The restlessness we feel when we try to pin our hopes on something other than God is actually a gift. It reveals the truth that we were made to be part of God’s story, a beloved child of His eternal family. Anything other than Him leaves us wanting more. As Saint Augustine famously said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless till it rests in Thee.” What will we worship today?

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51 thoughts on "Mistaken for Gods"

  1. Sarah Morrison says:


  2. Jennifer Mitchell says:

    Yes! As I was reading this I was thinking about all the things I spend “worshipping.” You don’t think of it as worship but those things take up our mind and heart.
    I’ve recently deleted social media because I would literally check them as soon as my eyes opened.

  3. Jennifer Mitchell says:

    Yes! As I was reading this I was thinking about all the things I spend “worshipping.” You don’t think of it as worship but those things take up our mind and heart.

  4. Traci Gendron says:

    Wow! Just wow! Patti Sauls devotion today was SO good. I wrote most of it down. As I’ve gotten older and calmer (lol), I have found myself wanting peace. Just peace. I’m not seeking out other things so much anymore. I’m slowly letting go of the idols I have had. Maybe it comes from having the knowledge that God created us for Him. That we are restless until we rest in Him. I’m not anywhere near perfect, but a work in progress. Today’s study made me think what are my idols?? Am I willing to endure persecution for Christ? If I want to follow Him, it will come. I need to be ready. To prepare. To know His Word! KATHY – thank you for this thought! “What do the people closest to me know about God because of the way I live my life?” Thank you for that comment. I’m sure I’ll be stewing on that.
    ERB – Prayers for Revel. Our dogs are such a big part of our lives. Thank you for the surrounding scripture as well.
    MARI V – prayers for your work environment.
    CANDACE SMITH – prayers for a new pastor.
    VICTORIA E – prayers!
    MELANIE – praying for your husband.
    GLORIA – beautiful prayer!

  5. Sky Hilton says:

    What a very deep reading! Im still so happy that all of the disciples rejected the praise aimed at them, and told the many people they encountered to praise God. So many of us need to aim our praise to God only, never ourselves.

    So many people put so many things before God. And it could be so many things, other than just the things we think of. It could be movies (which I have done), it could be TV shows, it could be traveling. Some of my family members love to put their problems before God- they like to focus on their problems and how much they hurt- other than focusing on Jesus. When I was younger, I use to worship so many celebrities.. and Youtube stars.. but I never felt happy or satisfied. I used to look for God in all the wrong places.

    But since God has called me back, I have no desire to worship anyone but God only. That doesn’t mean to stop being nice to people or stop giving them complements.. but that does mean to stop putting them in front of God.

    Every day I am now finding myself wanting to praise God throughout all the day. He is so good… and why wouldn’t I? He’s worth every single second, every single hour, and every single minute… all I want to be is His. I no longer want to be apart of a christ-less culture that tries to get you to worship things that will bring you no love/comfort or happiness in the end. I want to live in a culture that centered around Jesus, our savior, our Lord, and most importantly.. our everything.

    I would hope that we would stop practicing these forms of idolatry.. and put God FIRST! Nothing will ever come close to our King!

    (Also, could you please pray for my mom and sister? My sister was stood up by someone she wanted to meet… she was really depressed. And that made my mom more depressed. I believe that my mom’s faith is hanging by shreds at this point.. and it makes me so sad!! I love God so much… and don’t want her to give up! I pray so desperately that both my mom and sister to encounter Jesus in their own way.. and to not live their life without Him! )

  6. AG says:

    “It is necessary to go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” This quote from today’s reading stuck out to me. May I remember this when I am facing hardships and know they are leading me to a closer and stronger relationship to God. After the reading the devotional online today, I started to think about what my mind turns to and right now it is definitely my job. Being a teacher is so tough right now and I need to remember to turn to the Lord for help and encouragement. Lord shed your light on me and your plan for how I can share your word with others around me.

  7. Mari V says:

    Victoria E. 20 weeks already? I will be praying for you.

  8. Jennifer Anapol says:

    What are my lesser god’s? The thinks I worship other than God include, myself, my daughter, control, comfort, and people’s opinions of me. It is sad to think about the amount of time that is spent worshipping these things.

  9. Ash Ramey says:

    This really has opened my eyes to what I think about all day.

  10. Dorothy says:

    Patti brought up some good points and had some good questions. Right now I will say I will worship the Lord and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. But God, to say it would continue if certain circumstances occurred I don’t know. I love my family dearly and if they were threatened would I deny my Lord, I don’t know. I can give up social media and TV and many other things but my family means a great deal to me.
    Lord God help me to know You are most important in my life by trusting in You all else will fall into place. Amen.
    Sisters, let’s all remember God is ALWAYS with us and be blessed.

  11. Lexi B says:

    Candace- praying for you, your pastor and for a new leader for your church.
    ERB- not a silly prayer at all; dogs are family. Praying for Revel (love the name btw)
    Victoria E- Praying for your next ultrasound
    Melanie- Praying for your husband, that he falls deeply in love with God and has a hunger to know him.
    Mari- praying for your job.
    Happy Monday Ladies; thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement. I enjoy reading your insights each day.

  12. Beverly Watley says:

    Prayers for Revel, that he will be healed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  13. Jane K says:

    I spent some time this weekend getting caught up from when I was on vacation. I love this study and I feel like my eyes are opened to what God is teaching me. Thank you to those who post it enriches my life. I am praying for all the requests. Melanie, I also join you in prayer for your husband. Mari, Lexi, BetsyAnn, I am praying for all three of you for situations at work. Victoria and Lindsey, I think and pray for you and your babies often. My daughter Kelsey is also expecting, and there are some concerns. Julia, I am praying for your daughter. Nikki, I’m so happy you are part of this group. I’m praying God gives you a deep desire to know Him and love His Word. Carol, may God continue to strengthen your faith and pour out His blessings over you. Anna, asking God to relieve your anxiety and give you His peace. Continued prayers Dorthy, for your sister and nephew too. I am so thankful for all the teachers on here that love and pray over our children. Bless you!

  14. Candace Smith says:

    Ladies please pray for my church our pastor stepped down Sunday. Our pastor has only been with us 2 years and the one before 3. Our congregation is tired, worn, and weary from COVID and pastor searches. Please pray for stamina, endurance, and for the man God would have lead us. Also that we have faith that God has this. That all we must do is follow where he leads. Have a blessed Monday!

  15. Jane K says:

    I spent some time this weekend getting caught up from when I was on vacation. I love this study and I feel like my eyes are opened to what God is teaching me. Thank you to those who post it enriches my life. I am praying for all the requests. Melanie, I also join you in prayer for your husband. Mari, Lexi, BetsyAnn, I am praying for all three of you for situations at work. Victoria and Lindsey, I think and pray for you o

  16. Maddy Havens says:

    Bless you for your work, Kathy. Some of the most lost and confused people I’ve seen were the art kids in school. They are desperately searching for meaning and belonging and are so susceptible to influence from the darkness. praise the Lord that He put you in their path!

  17. Victoria E says:

    Amen Poppy! Melanie and Mari V I will be praying for you. Sisters if I may ask for prayer for our next ultrasound, it is the 20 week anatomy scan next Monday the first. Please pray for my faith to continue to grow during this waiting period. Thank you.

  18. Cindy Hanna says:


  19. Cindy Hanna says:

    Oh my! This is what leapt from the page to challenge my heart in today’s reading. 22b: “encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” – Acts 14:22 Why do I fall into the trap that I am only loved by God when I get his blessings when over and over it is plain that’s only half the story? I am not made complete and welcomed into the Kingdom unless I understand the work he is doing in me in suffering.

  20. ERB says:

    And.. I know it seems silly, but I would love prayers for my dog Revel… She is experiencing a sudden onset of pain…her back left hip/leg is swollen & uncomfortable. My vet said to let her rest for the next 24hrs and if not improved to bring her in.. I can’t afford a vet bill right now.. so hoping whatever the issue is it will resolve itself!! Thank you for your prayers… Revel is my best friend, and a huge comfort to me ❤️❤️❤️

  21. ERB says:

    Definitely WORTH reading the surrounding scriptures in 2 Timothy!!! A LOT there!!!

    2 Timothy 3:1-17 “DIFFICULT TIMES AHEAD: But know this: Hard times will come in the last days. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people. 6 For among them are those who worm their way into households and deceive gullible women overwhelmed by sins and led astray by a variety of passions, 7 always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres [magicians in Exodus] resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth. They are men who are corrupt in mind and worthless in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress, for their foolishness will be clear to all, as was the foolishness of Jannes and Jambres.
    10 But you have followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance, 11 along with the persecutions and sufferings that came to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured—and yet the Lord rescued me from them all. 12 In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, 15 and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
    2 Timothy 4:1-8 “I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and teaching. 3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear. 4 They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But as for you, exercise self-control in everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 There is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.”

    Hope each of you has a blessed day!!

  22. Christie Beyeler says:

    Praying for all these things❤️

  23. Maura says:

    Mari V, thank you for your prayers, so appreciated. I am praying for you too. Know He has you in His hands. Melanie, joining your prayers, know you are loved beyond measure. I woke up this morning a bit overwhelmed with many good things, but a bit of anxiety creeping in, so praying for His Peace that surpasses understanding as the storms roar around us. Lord, God keep our eyes above the waves, our hearts set on you no matter what. You are Creator, our Provider, our loving Savior, Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Way, The Truth, The Life. So, so worthy of our praise. Holy Spirit keep our eyes on Jesus, that all the distractions, worries, thoughts of this world fall away and our vision, our visions, our conversations with self and others is full of you. Take these thoughts captive that they are full of You and overflow with your love. In the Name above all Names Jesus, I pray. His Love to you all.

  24. Mari V says:

    Joining you Melanie B in praying for your husband.

  25. Mari V says:

    Also if you could all be praying for me for a situation at work.

  26. Mari V says:

    What will I worship today? My heart and mind and soul only wants to worship the one true God. I’m praying this morning that I stay focused on my Jesus only! He is my everything! And I pray the same for my children. My prayer is that I do not get distracted by the things of the world or things that come up. My mind tends to wander sometimes, I pray my mind refocus on Jesus!

  27. Kathy says:

    I teach high school art. My classroom is my mission field. I have this post-it note taped to my desk.
    “What do the people closest to me know about God because of the way I live my life? What do they think I worship.”
    Holy Father, may my life shine a light so lovely that others are drawn to it and want to know the source.

  28. Gloria says:

    Melanie B, you’re situation reminds me of my marriage.
    I am praying for your husband to fall passionately back in love with God and that your heart will be ready for this change , that you will keep your heart open in forgiveness and grace in abundance so that when he is resting in God’s arms, you will not feel a need to remind him of all the pain he caused you; caused the children. I am praying for your children that God would speak clearly to them and give them an abundance of discernment so they know when God is speaking. And have godly wisdom to make right choices. May they gush over God’s love for them all the days of their lives. May their praise and worship of God be like a rushing river; what other people think, cannot contain it. When you ask, Melanie, “what can i do?!!!!”, and you hear, “just love him and let me do the rest”, then may you humble yourself and seek His face by loving your husband regardless of his ways. May you be utterly blessed as you wait for God to act! What abundant blessings await you!!!

  29. Donna Wolcott says:

    Lisa, AMEN! Your prayer brought tears to my eyes.

  30. TMC says:

    Praying for you and your husband to be fully united to Jesus.

  31. Kristina Lopes says:

    God just knows how to tug at your heart strings sometimes! I have been prioritizing my busy grad school academic calendar and finances over my time with God. I’ve even been prioritizing Family over God. I pray God that you keep me accountable and realign me to You – what’s truly important ❤️

  32. Elizabeth McGee says:

    Praying that our Father can remind me today that my security, my value and identity come only from Him, NOT from my career.

  33. Elizabeth McGee says:

    Praying that our Father can remind me today that my security, my value and identity come only from Him, NOT from my

  34. Melanie B says:

    I have realized that many times I have made my husband an idol in my life, expecting that he can fill a place that only Christ can. He became a Christian a few years after we were married and I thought I now had the perfect marriage, with a believing husband. Through some trauma and disillusionment he has bought into the teachings of Richard Rohr and decided that Jesus isn’t Christ and isn’t the only way to life with God. He was an elder in our church, but now says he never really believed that Jesus was the only way. I’m heartbroken and there is a lot of tension and conflict between us regarding our spiritual lives and what we teach our kids. I see that God is using this trial to deepen my faith and strengthen me but I’m lonely and find myself allowing the deceiver to sometimes gain a foothold in my thoughts. Please pray for me/us. I have so many faithful women praying that God would soften his heart and bring him a Godly mentor who he would listen to. I’m also praying for my patience and stamina to trust God’s timing but also not lose heart. Please join me in these prayers.

  35. hope says:

    @Liza and @Poppy I love what you shared.

  36. hope says:

    Thanks be to God in all things.

  37. Lisa z says:

    May I only speak after receiving His words
    May I only act after receiving His promoting
    And by so doing
    May I shine His light so brightly
    That He is seen, not me.

    Dear Dad, I’ve spent so much of my life’s energy striving to be seen for who I am. Help me to quiet. Help me to pause. Help me to surrender all that I am, in hope of becoming more of You. I am, as it were, rather exhausted by the battle of trying to be me.

  38. SarahJoy says:

    The only object of worship that is worthy!
    “Prone to wander Lord I feel it
    Prone to leave the God I love!
    Here’s my heart Lord take and seal it
    Seal it for thy courts above.”

  39. Lindsay says:

    Amen, Penny! I love that Saint Augustine quote. Praying this will be a week of resting in Him.

  40. Taylor says:

    Lord I pray You would give us hearts that are solely fixed on pursuing You and Your will above anything else in our lives. I loved Patti’s quote in the devotion “We are wired to flourish when we admire, adore, and serve the Lord above all else.” May it be so in my life, and your lives as well <3

  41. Aimee D-R says:

    Father God draw my heart of worship to You and only You. In Jesus name, Amen.

  42. Penny Courtney says:

    In our society we easily get caught up in the crowded schedules, progressing in our career and our status within our groups. Social media has it’s our growing category in our lives.
    We don’t intend to put God below these things, but our energy gets used up by them everyday.
    These things can’t possibly satisfy us, only God can. I need reminding everyday that God is far more worthy of my time and energy than any other being or thing in my life. He alone will provide what I need.

  43. Melanie says:

    Amen Poppy. Praying for a week that God will use my. My mouth needs to be aligned with Him and it my feelings. Though I am weak may His strength lead and guide me. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Let continue to pray for each other and our burdens we carry For unsaved loved ones and for a nation that needs Jesus.

  44. Kristen says:

    Good Morning! I just went back to Friday’s comments. I too grew up catholic, but didn’t know that I should be reading the Bible. I regularly attended church and went to CCD, but didn’t even understand the Gospel or salvation. I was so clueless that I thought the Bible was contradictory. I started attending a different church burying my daughter. (I have shared that I was invited that day after her burial.) i understand the works based belief. I grew up not understanding that none of us can work our way to Heaven. I didn’t know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! He is the only Way. Praying for the needs written on Friday and for salvation for those that were mentioned like Bernadette’s sister and the 92 year old woman and for all our lost family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. I heard a message from John MacAuthor. He was saying that he shares the Gospel, but he can’t make anyone come. This is the work of the God. He said he would go crazy if people’s salvation were determined by his preaching and his abilities, or if it was all counting on him. (I’m paraphrasing.) However,I know we should definitely still learn God’s Word for ourselves and to share, pray,show love and compassion. The message is actually from the book of Acts and is called The Truly Liberated Woman. Here is a link if anyone wants to listen. https://youtu.be/2EwsgV4JfVM
    Praying for protection, hope, and joy for all today!

  45. Rachel Romero says:

    May my feet be grounded on the truth of the Gospel and my eyes be focused on the love of God. I pray that all of you have a peace that passes understanding even in the midst of life and all that comes with being alive in todays world and I pray that blessings are poured out onto your lives. Happy Monday y’all, I love you!

  46. Blessed Beth says:

    It is so easy for us as humans to be distracted, today I place my hand in His and will allow Him to keep me on His path, going where He leads me, speaking as He leads. May this be a daily activity. As Poppy reminds us, especially during the holidays!

  47. Kelly says:

    “all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

    May I keep mu focus on You, Lord, when persecuted so that even if I am “stoned,” I will walk it off and continue to be Your witness to the world.

  48. Kayla Willoughby says:

    Yes ma’am, I was thinking the same thing.

  49. Kayla Willoughby says:

    This speaks to me so much. Some days I wake up worried about how I will get everything done but if I trust God and put everything else on hold, He will make a way and carry me through.

  50. Poppy Waskett says:

    The way the disciples committed the journey to the lord has stood out to me. In whom they put they’re trust. Today I commit my day and my activity to the Lord in whom I put my trust – an act of the will. I also commit my holiday to the Lord and ask too that as a community you would commit it to the Lord for me, against covid and restlessness, against any obstruction of the enemy, committed to the Lord. He does more than we can ask or imagine!

  51. Poppy Waskett says:

    The way the disciples committed the journey to the lord has stood out to me. In whom they put they’re trust. Today I commit my day and my activity to the Lord in whom I put my trust – an act of the will not necessarily f