Mistaken for Gods
Open Your Bible
Acts 14:1-28, Colossians 4:2-4, 2 Timothy 3:10-12
BY Patti Sauls
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?