“You worship what you do not know…” John 4:22
In the beginning, God made man in His own image, and ever since that time, man has been trying to remake God in his own image. People treat God like Wikipedia. On Wikipedia, people can edit whatever they want, removing things they don’t like and adding in things they do like. A local Greenville pastor even wrote an entire book called Wiki God—the basic premise of which is that “our culture worships the Wiki God. We want ever so desperately to serve a deity whom we have the freedom and capability to edit. Many people are attempting to revise the Christian faith by cutting out what they don’t like, copying favorable ideas from other worldviews, and pasting them into some hopeless attempt at a hybrid faith” (quote from the book’s description).
There are numerous examples of this in popular culture. For instance, many Christians believe that if they will just be obedient and follow the commands of the Bible, then God will give them a blissful life: a perfect marriage, obedient children, a nice job, a big salary, and relatively good health. However, you won’t find that idea anywhere in the Bible. No, that’s an example of Wikipedia Christianity.
Other people, who profess to be Christians, incorporate karma—a belief of Buddhism and Hinduism—into their beliefs. They believe good things will happen to good people, or at least to those who do good, and bad things will happen to bad people, or to those who do bad. While it’s generally true that people reap what they sow, it’s also true that the righteous sometimes suffer (see the book of Job), and the wicked sometimes prosper (see Ecclesiastes 4:1-3). Karma isn’t a Christian belief.
Some people who profess to be Christians believe they don’t need to gather with the church on a weekly basis (even though Hebrews 10:25 commands Christians not to neglect meeting together). Others who profess to be Christians have the exact opposite belief, believing that their weekly church attendance excuses their lack of spiritual disciplines throughout the week.
It gets worse. Some people try to maintain that they are Christians while holding beliefs that directly contradict the teachings of the Bible. A well-known presidential candidate, who has dropped out of the race, professed himself to be a Christian even though he is married to another man. That’s a clear example of picking and choosing the parts of the Bible we like and don’t like.
Before you amen that last point too quickly, remember that you and I do this all the time, whether we realize it or not. The Bible affirms plainly that God is completely sovereign: The Lord “does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and none can stay His hand or say to Him, ‘What have you done?'” (Daniel 4:35). Yet, people continue to deny the absolute sovereignty of God and try to limit God’s sovereignty, determining for themselves what He can and cannot do, but we must remember, “Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases” (Psalm 115:3). The sovereignty of God is just one of many examples in which professing Christians seek to edit the God of the Bible according to their own desires.
We could go on and on with countless examples of ways in which people ignore certain parts of the Bible, pick and choose which parts of the Bible they like and don’t like, and try to remake God in their own image. But, as Christians, we should desire to be completely submissive to God and His Word. Whatever God says about Himself and salvation in His Word, we want our beliefs to conform perfectly to His revelation. When we come to hard topics in the Bible, we want to wrestle through those topics, but in the end, we want to affirm all of God’s Word, not just portions.
Do you worship the God of the Bible or a god you have created in your own image? How have you treated God and the Christian faith like Wikipedia? Do you ignore certain portions and topics in the Bible, or do you rejoice not only to read all of God’s Word but gladly affirm all of God’s Word? Have you incorporated beliefs from other religions and worldviews into your own faith? If you found that certain beliefs you hold went against Scripture, would you renounce those beliefs or continue to try to incorporate them into your faith? If you found that certain beliefs you oppose were affirmed in Scripture, would you affirm those beliefs or continue to reject them? Do you worship what you do not know?
The God of the Bible is too glorious, too awesome, too majestic, too loving, too gracious, too merciful, too forgiving, and too beautiful for us to continue remaking Him according to our own likeness. Jesus told the woman at the well, “The hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him” (John 4:23). Is that you? Do you long to worship God in spirit and in truth? Then take up and read the scriptures: know whom you worship.