Beware of gods that ask you for too little.

A god that doesn’t demand sacrifice beyond your capacity is not worthy of your worship. Indeed, a god who places burdens on you which you can conceivably bear is not great enough. Such a god will make you weaker by blinding you to your shortcomings.

These false gods cannot give you meaning, they can only give you the illusion of meaning. They cannot make you righteous, though they can make you feel righteous. They are powerless to make the world right, but they can give you license to blame the wrong in the world on everyone but yourself. They tell you all the lies you want to hear. You know that they lie, but you listen anyway, because you are a fool, and you don’t care about the truth.

He is an idiot who worships that which is not infinite, that which does not demand the infinite from him.

The true God demands that you sacrifice everything. Place on the altar your deeply held beliefs about your own righteousness, your sense of identity, your hopes and dreams. Burn them. God demands it. Dare you disobey this God, whose right it is to take everything away from you and cast you into the flames? Tremble in fear, then obey! Do not shut your ears to his demands, lest you bear his wrath!

This God is fearsome, but does he not know best? Why would you choose to disobey this God, whose wisdom is infinite, and whose judgments are righteous?

It is because you blindly cling to your rags, hoping to hide your utter wretchedness from yourself and from others. You will not abandon the beliefs that you love, even if you know they are false. You love that which destroys you, and you hate that which makes you well, because it makes you feel ashamed.

May God pry my idols from my hands and cast them into the abyss where they belong. My corrupt will prevents me from doing so myself. I cannot make this sacrifice; it is too great a thing for me to give. Thank God that he makes it on my behalf, freeing me from the grasp of my false gods; opening my eyes to see that I have so far not been free, but in chains; and exposing my foolishness and wickedness so that I can appreciate his grace all the more.

God, in his mercy, demands that we reject wickedness and refuse to let idols colonize our hearts, that we may be free to serve him whom we are meant to serve. And then, when we inevitably fail to comply with God’s command, he casts out these false gods on our behalf and guards us so they cannot return. We cannot and will not make the sacrifices that we must, so he does so on our behalf. Thanks be to God.


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