And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
(Joshua 24:15 ESV, emphasis mine)
Whether you are of Semitic heritage, as I am, or Asian, African or European, your forefathers served some god(s). And today, people groups around the world serve many different gods, including YHWH, God of the Bible; Allah, ancient desert moon god and the god of Islam; and, Ganesha, one of many Hindu gods. But people also serve gods that they might not realize they are serving, such as greed, lust, addiction, covetousness, and especially the god of self. The Bible actually has the following list:
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.
(Galatians 5:19-21 ESV)
All of these “gods” are truly just idols, for an idol is anything we place ahead of God and service to Him. So even the atheist serves gods. And, many self-proclaimed Christians are idolaters too, because they fail to put God first.
You cannot have no relationship with your mother and father, because even if you have a poor relationship with them, you still have some relation to them, albeit poor. Likewise we all have a relationship with God, be it a right relationship or not. If we do not have a right relationship with God, we’ve caused Him to be alienated from we, as we’ve walked away from Him and the right relationship. It is not God that has soured the relationship, but us, through our behavior toward Him.
There is only one right relationship with God, which is based on the fact that God created the entirety of existence. As a part of the entirety of existence, we were made by God and thus He owned us from the beginning of existence. God, in giving us free will, gave us to ourselves. We, rather than returning ourselves to our rightful owner, sold ourselves into slavery to sin. God, rather than writing us off as bad investments, repurchased us from sin. If we correctly recognize our relationship to God as His property–made, bought and paid-for–we must turn away from our sins, love God and submit to His will.
Whether we choose to serve God or not, we are going to serve someone. If we do not choose to serve God, then we choose, even by our inaction, to serve His adversary, whether it be through service to one of the numerous false gods or service to ourselves through secular humanism. We will all be judged, and none will be judged worthy, but those who take Christ Jesus as our Master, will be justified through His atoning sacrifice. All others will recognize the Lordship of Christ Jesus, but only after they’ve been forever distanced from Him in torment. So, return yourself to His ownership today, not for the eternal reward or fear of the eternal punishment, but because that is where we all rightly belong.
And, if you already call yourself a brother or sister of the faith, then make sure you have a right relationship with God by placing Him at the center of everything you love, think and do.
Of Course You Have a Relationship with God