Read Exodus 20:1-7
"And God spoke all these words, saying, 'I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.'"
In what ways to people "take other gods" before the one true God?
God reveals Himself in the Bible and through Christ, the eternal Word. Jesus is the face of God, the visible image of the invisible God. John 1:14 says, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (NASB). From Genesis to Revelation the Lord gives countless snapshots of Himself. The Bible's stories are not just nice stories, not myths that are representations of truth, but are "true truth" as Edith Schaeffer says, so that we can know Him and come to love and worship Him and surrender our lives to Him.
Here's a key way to know Him better: Lay down false notions about God from the culture.
In the past, I've gotten some weird ideas about God from well-meaning folks. Like me, you may have acquired false notions about Him from movies, art, or your education. God has had a colorful yet flawed movie career, and sometimes the portrayals are blasphemous.
Often, He is portrayed more as a caricature than the Creator of the universe. In the 1950s movie The Ten Commandments, God is a booming disembodied voice. In Michelangelo's famous mural Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, God is a white-bearded strongman. In the 1970s comedy Oh, God!, he is a wisecracking, good-natured deity with a cigar. In the 1990s film Dogma, God is a raucous rock star. Bette Midler's Grammy Award-winning song "From a Distance" implies that God is watching us from a long way away but doesn't have any power or involvement in our lives. One of the more recent incarnations of God was in the movie Bruce Almighty, in which God is humanized as a dignified higher power who sometimes posed as a janitor. "Think it's easy being the Man Upstairs?" God asks Bruce, the television reporter who's blaming him for his problems. "Then you try running the world."
Reflect on movies, books, and songs you've gotten ideas about God from. How do these line up with stories in the Word, His interactions with people, and how the Bible portrays Him? Is His loving-kindness represented and His invitation to people to enter into a new relationship with Him through Jesus Christ demonstrated?
Lord Jesus, Tear down any idol in my life. Help me to stay focused on You. Amen.