We don’t like it.
In fact, we often rebel at the idea of a spiritual check-up.
This is especially true in the area of little-g “gods.”
Because it always means making necessary changes to bring ourselves back into alignment with God and His ways.
A Little-g “gods” Example To Remember
Wait a second.
Before you stop reading, let’s remember the young nation of Israel. The warnings they received. The warnings they ignored. The consequences.
On three separate occasions before his death, Joshua admonished the people of Israel to watch out for the little-g gods that surrounded them (Joshua 22-24).
When they stayed true to God and the covenant they made with Him, they were blessed and were able to drive out their enemies with God’s help (Deuteronomy 28).
But when they regressed, the results were disastrous.
An oft-repeated cycle ensued: spiritual adultery, captivity/slavery, crying out for deliverance, a God-raised judge to deliver them, and finally turning back to God.
Only to once more sink into idolatry. (You may want to read the book of Judges and note this repeated cycle.)
Facts About Little-g “gods”
Times Haven’t Changed
If you don’t grasp anything else I say, grasp this: Times haven’t changed!
We still live in the midst of a whole host of little-g “gods.” This world and its leader (Satan) will see to it. And it’s all-too-easy for us to compromise our faith covenant with God Almighty, thinking that it really doesn’t matter.
It’s just a little thing.
No big deal.
Except that it leads us into captivity to little-g “gods” which have no power to save us. In all truth, these “gods” mimic Satan’s plan to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10).
Little-g “gods” ALWAYS Enslave Us
This post takes a look at common little-g “gods” whose power isn’t to save us but enslave us. I hope we’ll each be convicted in the areas in which we need to turn back to the Lord.
It behooves us all from time to time to submit ourselves to a spiritual check-up like this, to let go of our little-g “gods” and commit ourselves once again to God alone.
25 Little-g “gods” to Absolutely Watch Out For
First, a little introduction.
Many of the little-g “gods” discussed below are not bad in and of themselves.
In fact, they often start off as good gifts from God. Its when we give those gifts pre-eminence over God that we get in trouble.
Throughout history, humans have demonstrated the tendency to worship and devote themselves to God’s gifts rather than Him as the Giver.
To the extent that we place our trust in these gifts or anything other than Him, we commit spiritual adultery (AKA idolatry).
Historically God wages war against little-g gods. This is vividly depicted in the ten plagues of the exodus. Each plague was a direct hit to Egypt’s little-g “gods.” (See Exodus 7:14-11:10.)
If God did this to the pagan nation of Egypt, He will certainly do it for a people who claim to belong to Him.
A people He died to redeem.
Below, you’ll find a list of today’s common little-g “gods.” Sadly, they’re also the ones that tend to rear their ugly heads in my life. Please remember this list is in no way exhaustive. At the same time, you’ll notice some overlap in each one mentioned. (Further proof of the enslaving nature of compromise.)
I’m also including a few questions to help us complete our spiritual check-up. I hope you find the post helpful.
25 Little-g “gods”:
- Do I place my family above my covenant relationship with God?
- Do I allow family members whose faith is shallow and/or compromised to draw me away from the Lord?
- Possessions (Luke 12:15)
- Do I own my “stuff,” or does it own me?
- Do my possessions take up time, energy, and resources I could be devoting to the Lord?
- Does my job or my relationship to the Lord define me?
- Does my work for the Lord or for the welfare of others have a higher priority than my relationship with Him?
- Friends/People (often including community, and even “church”)
- Do I give more heed to the opinions of people than God’s Word?
- Am I a people-pleaser?
- Do I care more about my pets than I do about God or people?
- Pleasure (including recreation, food, hobbies, sex, personal happiness & comfort, etc.)
- Is much of my life consumed by seeking after pleasure and personal happiness or comfort?
- Fear/Worry/Anxiety (all of which are worship to the wrong “god”!)
- Do I struggle too much with fear, worry, and anxiety rather than trusting God?
- Military Power
- Do I depend on military power to protect me over God?
- Does my country mean more to me than God?
- Memories of the past
- Am I enslaved to past memories — both good and bad?
- Plans for the future
- Am I guilty of setting my own goals rather than seeking God’s will for my life?
- Knowledge/Higher education & degrees
- Do I depend more on personal knowledge and education than God?
- Human philosophy
- Do I give more credence to fallible human thought and philosophies than what God’s Word says (Colossians 2:8)?
- Life’s necessities
- Do I strive for life’s necessities rather than recognizing the Lord as the provider of all I need (the breath in our lungs/air we breathe, the living water, the bread of life, our shelter)? (See Psalm 23:1.)
- Do I recognize the Lord’s sovereignty over my health?
- Do I spend more time, energy, and resources on my health than on my relationship with God?
- Anything we “build” with our own hands and/or effort
- Power and control
- Am I attempting to exercise power over others and my own life rather than relinquishing power and control to the sovereign Lord?
- Am I seeking to live life independent of God?
- Does pride make me rebellious, stiff-necked, and hard-hearted?
- Grudges, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment
- Self & self-improvement
- Am I measuring myself against other fallible human beings or against God’s standard as laid out in His Word (2 Corinthians 10:12-18)?
- Am I constantly denying myself — laying aside my will for His (Matthew 16:24)?
Little-g “gods” Wrap-Up
Were you like me?
Did you find areas in your life where you gave some of these things more service, devotion, and even worship than you ever intended?
Praise be to the Lord! He convicts us to draw us closer to Him. He uses even our sin and mistakes to bring about good in our lives.
See? Spiritual check-ups to uncover the little-g “gods” in our lives may not be pleasant, but they are completely necessary.
Here’s to doing those spiritual check-ups more often!
Can you think of some other little-g “gods” I didn’t include in the list above? Or maybe you have a word of personal testimony about God’s deliverance in your life? Either way, I’d love to hear from you in the comments! 🙂