Sunday School Lessons

How to Identify Your God

I think that it’s important here to define what it means for someone or something to be our god.  What do you think: What does it mean for someone or something to be an individual person’s god (or God)?  While I welcome suggestions in the comments below, I propose the following considerations to start the conversation:

  • The person publicly proclaims the entity as god.
  • The person worships the god, giving credit, praise, and glory to the god.
  • The person gives up (or “sacrifices”) things – time, money, possessions, etc. – for the god.
  • The person makes decisions according to what the god says to do.

When it comes to who a person’s god really is, I think that the behaviors are more telling than claims.  If someone were to say that they believe in a sovereign God who is compelled by His nature to deliver justice, but that person is still living as if there are no consequences for willfully and continually rebelling against Him, that doesn’t really line up.  This evidence from behavior and decision-making rings true, no matter who your god (or God) may be.

As a result, for those who have different beliefs from me (or even those whose stated beliefs are similar to my own, but whose actions don’t seem to align with those claims), I’d like to ask them this question: What difference does your faith make in your life?  In return, I must be able to answer that question myself: What difference does my faith make in my life?

After all, claiming that we follow God but not doing anything about it would make us out to be liars.  That’s hypocrisy.  While some accusations of Christians being hypocrites stem from a lack of understanding of the Christian faith, there are many examples where Christians (including myself) earn that title.  And, this is consistent with the reality of our process of sanctification: still battling an unredeemed sinful nature, even after our inner self is redeemed.  (However, I also realize that this is a relatively complicated topic to explain to those who are actively looking for reasons to discredit Christianity.)

On the other hand, living as if we follow God but not being willing to admit it makes us out to be fearful.  That’s often a sign of cowardice or a lack of commitment.  Note that I am not judging those who must sometimes hide from authorities to practice Christianity without punishment.  I differentiate strategic shrewdness from being unwilling to confess one’s Lord and Savor.

In fact, I’ve been guilty of my faith and my actions not lining up in both of these directions, so I understand the challenge.

As a positive example of getting one’s actions aligned with one’s faith in God, though, let’s revisit the first verse of Psalm 63 (quoted in the previous article):

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
Psalms 63:1 NIV

David doesn’t only acknowledge God as his God verbally.  In addition, David seeks after God, and does so “earnestly”.  The New American Standard Bible says, “I shall be watching for You”.

In Psalm 119:131, the author talks about panting for God’s commands.  Here, David is seeking God, and I imagine that David had a pretty good idea what it meant to be thirsty, especially if he’s been in the desert (or wilderness) for a while.  Just as David may have longed for some cool water to drink, he wanted to find God just as much.  (The next few verses give us examples of what that looks like.)

In a similar way that a thirsty person needs water in the wilderness, David needs God in his current situation, since Saul (or possibly Absalom) was trying to find David…and not to give him a medal or anything good like that!

The fact is that some people seek out God when they have no other choice.  When someone is at the end of their rope, in the pit of despair, or on the edge of exhaustion, and all worldly solutions have failed, it becomes clear that there is no answer but God.  To put that another way: when nothing in this world can help us, we must look outside of this world for a solution.

While God is faithful, and those who seek Him will find Him (see Hebrews 11:6), happy are those who learn to seek Him before they run out of other options!  Don’t just call on God, though: seek Him out and allow Him to change your life for the better.  Identify your healthy thirst for something that your spirit needs, and find what you need in God now, rather than when you have no other choice.

From Sunday School lesson prepared for November 6, 2022


  • The Lookout, November 6, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
  • Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
  • Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.
  • The College Press NIV Commentary, Psalms, Volume 1, S. Edward Tesh and Walter D. Zorn, © 1999, College Press Publishing Co., Joplin, MO.

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