From “How to become a Christian”: Chapter 7 – The Ten Commandments – proof that you and I are sinners, not just other people
Do you put other gods before God?
You shall have no other gods before meDeuteronomy 5:7 (NIV)
The word “gods,” spelled with a small “g”, refers to a number of things. Firstly it means the worship of gods in polytheistic religions such as Hinduism, where they have a multitude of gods. Likewise in the religions of ancient Greece, Rome and Scandinavia, they had very many gods such as Diana, Jupiter, Thor, Woden, etc. The Bible tells us that in reality, behind all such false gods or idols, there are demons.
For most of us who are from the West, the idea of worshiping false gods such as this, whether demons or otherwise, is alien. You might imagine therefore that you are innocent of this sin and that you do not worship any gods ahead of God Himself. However, you can make anything into a god. Your own god could be yourself, your career, family, money, comfort, a house, pleasure, car, hobby, pop star or a football team.
It is anything that you value more highly than God Himself and to which you give greater emphasis and importance than to Him. When you put it that way, you will quickly realize that you have probably got several ‘gods’ in your life that you actively worship. Take money for example. How much time to do you spend thinking about money as compared to thinking about God Himself? Do you love God as much as you love money? You may have never even considered such a question. Alternatively, ask yourself about your career or some other ambition. If you are honest with yourself you will admit that you have, on countless occasions, and in many different ways, elevated something or someone to a higher place than God. I certainly have.
The point of the first commandment is that God alone is to be worshiped. Nothing else and nobody else is ever to be worshiped. This commandment does not sound very serious to our Western ears. Yet God sees it as crucial. He will not accept anything other than first place in your life. Therefore to give anything else first place is to make that thing a god instead of, or ahead o,f Him.
He refuses to share His place as the God of the universe and as your God. It is therefore a dreadful insult to put any god before Him. This is worth reflecting upon at length until you can see where you have been committing this sin. It may not be obvious to you at first. But once you dwell upon it you will see that you have done it all your life and are probably still doing it now.