1. You shall have no other gods before the Lord (see Ex. 20:2).
I love this. God first declares I am God, Lord and deliverer, and His first command is to have no other gods. I love the logic of God. If He is God, there is no other. To have other gods of any kind would be to live in a fantasy or delusion of some type. God doesn't live in fantasy, but in reality, and a reality that He alone is God.
We can theologize this command, or we can ask ourselves some questions. When in trouble, do I go to God? Do I behave as if I believe He is God? Do I seek and worship Him regularly acknowledging that He is God? If someone was doing a DVD of my life, would there be enough evidence that He is God of my life? Then also, ask these questions about your marriage. Do we seek God together? Together do we ask for help and guidance? Together, do we seek and worship Him?
The other litmus test for a person or a marriage as to whether God alone is God, is obedience. Do we do His will or our own will? For me, this alone tells me if I have any other God than God. In marriage, if and when we know His will and we do it, we're confident we have no other gods but God.
2. "You shall not make for yourself any graven idol, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water below 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 fourth generation of them who hate Me, and showing lovingkindness to thousands of them who love Me and keep My commandments" (Ex. 20:406).
Now I really don't expect many people reading this to worship physical idols. I don't believe many Westerners believe idols have powers or that you would find many Christian couples bowing down or chanting to some object.
However, let me suggest an idol I have seen in Western culture that often competes for worship, even among Christians. It's the idol of me, myself and I. When someone worships this idol, so much gets measured by their perceived strengths or abilities. This person or marriage can become so self-reliant that it doesn't need God.
This couple can rely on their smartness, wealth, success or abilities to manipulate others. They have created systems in their life or beliefs that don't permit God to be God. This couple may be religious, but intimacy with God is absent. They talk about God, but rarely hear God talk to them. This self-sufficiency is the idol I see couples get into.
Interestingly in this command, you see God describe a relationship with Him. You as a person or as a couple love Him or hate Him. This seems strong, but I think throughout the Bible, you see this belief of not being able to serve two masters. You'll love one and hate the other. In Revelation, God says, "I wish you were cold or hot."
Hot pursuit of God is the only guaranteed solution of not having idols. Having idols can make you believe in your superiority in some way. This kind of self-worship can damage a marriage. I find couples with no self-worship are humble, teachable and able to extend grace to themselves and their spouse as a lifestyle. The couple with no idols is a Trinity with a sweet fragrance for sure.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally-known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including, Miracle of Marriage. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at [email protected].
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