I don’t know about you, but when I want something, I don’t want a cheap imitation. If I order a Coca-Cola Classic, I would be somewhat disappointed to be given a random, private-label, store-brand generic cola.
Authenticity matters. However, it doesn’t just matter in soda. It also matters when we are talking about God.
There are many examples in the Bible where people wanted the one true God. Substitutes were not good enough.
For example, take Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. Elijah wanted to prove who was the authentic God, so he issued a challenge. Whoever was able to light the offering on fire would indeed be the God who was listening. He didn’t care that he was opposing 450 prophets of Baal.
He wanted to prove that God was real, and that is how it worked out. Elijah’s offering was torched because God is real and is powerful.
Another good example of this happened when Paul was preaching on Mars’ Hill in Acts 17. Paul mentions that the people of Athens worship an entire pantheon of deities, but they also had a spot for the unknown god. Paul use this as a lead-in to emphasize how there was only one God over all. He might be unknown to them right now, but He is the only one that matters.
The entire group of Greek gods and goddesses was not sufficient. Paul wanted them to see the one God that was indeed real.
In both of these cases, the imitations were not good enough. These men knew that they wanted the one true God.
That should be our main priority as well. We should be constantly seeking after God himself. There are certainly plenty of distractions that can pull us away and become our own personal deities.
We may idolize money or friends or even family. None of these things are inherently bad, but if we begin to worship them, we have become idolaters.
Because of that, I would challenge all of us to keep hunting for the authentic God. If we are wrapped up in things that are taking the place of God, I hope that we can repent and re-prioritize.
God wants and deserves to be first in our lives. That is where we need to position him.