“I believe in God.”
These are four simple words that seemingly say much. When we hear someone make a statement like this, we might even conclude that person is a Christian. But if there’s one thing the Bible teaches about human beings it’s this: our true nature is often more complicated than the words we speak (SEE Proverbs 20:5!).
So here’s the deal, you can say you believe in God but still trust something else for your significance and meaning in life. And whatever that thing is you look to for your significance and meaning in life is functioning as your real god.
How do you know what that thing is? I would suggest that 99% of the time we don’t know what or who our true god is. It’s only when our god is threatened or taken from us we’re able to identify it.
There’s an easy way to do this. There are usually excessive emotions that are attached to the things we make the functional trust of our hearts. If you find yourself inordinately shaken by anger, anxiety, or despondency, excessive emotions are pointers that lead you to the true functional trust of your heart. In other words, our nerves get touched when our false gods are threatened or taken away.
Our good and loving God uses situations like these redemptively. When we find our nerves have been touched because a false god has been lost, that’s God’s way of saying, “Hey, my child, remember Me? I’m your refuge, your comfort, your security, your significance, your true meaning. Come to Me and I will give you rest."