God has many names, the good ones such as “Adonai” or “Elohim” help us explore God’s genuine aspects. However, we have other implied names for God which poison our understanding of who God is. Human beings can be very superstitious and often we assign personalities and intention where there is none. This bad habit has caused us to assign the name God to things that have nothing to do with him at all. Here are a few of them:
There are many random experiences and circumstances which we will encounter in life. When they meet with our approval, we think of it as “good” when they do not we think of them as “bad.” It is an extremely arrogant view of the world to that we judge events based on our own preferences, but even worse that we then personify these experiences as God. People who worship fortune in the name of God are obsessed with health and wealth. They seek to appease God through religion purely for the sake of gaining good favor and good fortune.
To some people, normally or “majority opinion” is confused with God. These people tend to be from wealthy or suburban communities where Christianity is socially acceptable. The social acceptance of Christianity combined with being surrounded by wealth can create the illusion of being in “God’s favor.” These communities associate the culture around them with Christianity itself, and then conforming to it as being obedient to God.
Much like fortune, many people associate God with control. If you are obedient to God, then you will be in control of your life. If you are disobedient to God, then you will be out of control of your life. This is different from fortune, in that being poor is still a blessing as long as you are poor on purpose and still have control over your circumstances. Often this name for God is invoked in tyrannical family structures where guilt is used to pressure others into submission.
To those who worship happiness in God’s name, they feel a good Christian is a happy Christian. If you are obedient to God, then you will be happy. If you are sad, depressed, or upset then there is something wrong with you. These people will condemn everything negative or confrontational as evil or an “attack.” Those who try and bring attention to problems or concerns in a community are considered “trouble makers.”
We are all born into a tribe, a group of people we relate to or understand the most. Our families all have certain styles, preferences, and ways of living we share. If not our homes or towns, then we form tribes from those we have common interests with or the same opinions. This idol is worshiped more than any other in the name of God. If you are doing something that other people in your tribe disapprove of, then you are wrong. If your tribe is praising you and giving you honor, then you are appeasing God. This is the most tempting for us as it does truly hurt to be rejected by those you grew up with, and it feels so good to be praised by them. But do not be deceived, this is not God.
The Sacred Conscious
In the end, we all stand alone before God. We will not be given a pass because “everyone else is doing it” or “that’s just the way things are.” We must examine our own conscious, as if standing alone before God and taking responsibility for our actions. Did we stand for justice, or are we a part of the mob? Did we defend the innocent, or protect our own social status. What is your real God?
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
– Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)