Sometimes in life it can seem like everything is good and going well and the next minute or hour or day, that is a distant memory and doubt or fear or frustration or other negative thinking creeps in and takes over. I remember this happening once when I was feeling down and talking to a friend, whom I had spoken too just hours before when things were great and he said, “Seriously – what changed??”
What he meant was that if we know that God, Good, Love is the source of all good and the true, constant and permanent source of our joy and peace – what could change? I know God to be the source of joy and peace and that those are qualities we inherently possess, because we were created in God’s image and likeness (according to Genesis 1). So they are a part of us and must be constant and permanent because those are also qualities of God that we reflect. I thought of his comment about “what changed” one morning as I was trying to figure out how the day before I went from having a great day to a lousy evening.
That day, I was so sure of my source of good and joy and felt totally at peace when I started my day, and that carried throughout my day of service work. But then in the evening I chatted with a different friend who said some things that really bothered and frustrated me, and then I got mad and down on myself for being so bothered and frustrated… and in all this my thought was definitely not very focused on God, my true source of good.
So while reflecting back on this, I came across this statement from Mary Baker Eddy which appeared in that week’s Bible lesson:
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus xx. 3.) The First Commandment is my favorite text. It demonstrates Christian Science. It inculcates the tri-unity of God, Spirit, Mind; it signifies that man shall have no other spirit or mind but God, eternal good, and that all men shall have one Mind. The divine Principle of the First Commandment bases the Science of being, by which man demonstrates health, holiness, and life eternal.Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 340
I thought about the first commandment in a different way… what was it that I making another god? Was I saying that this friend who had said those things was my source of joy or peace (and they failed)? Wouldn’t that be attributing power, cause, source to something other than the one all-powerful, all-loving God?
When I realized that, I started to feel more peaceful and more joyful. I realized that this person had no control over my happiness. And the more I focused on God, as the true source of joy, the more I felt closer to God and more at peace. So now I’m on the lookout for what I might be making false gods – friends, sleep, money, home… basically anything that at any moment I give power to or think of as my source of some quality – love, energy, supply, peace… and turning it around to realize that God is our ultimate source of all good.
What are you making a false god?