Replacing God

Four weeks ago yesterday, my wife Erin and I welcomed the fifth member of our family into the world, Liam Michael Collins. Bama and Penny, our two dogs, were the first kids in our house and anyone who has owned a dog understands what I mean when I say they were kids.  While Liam has demanded all of my and Erin’s attention over the last four weeks, it has been a joy to give it to him.  Life has certainly changed for us over the last four weeks, and it will certainly not be the same moving forward.   This is proving to be quite unfortunate for Bama and Penny as they have dropped on our priority list.

In the past, many of my mornings involved a cup of coffee, a recliner, the Bible, and Penny sitting in my lap.  Since Liam’s arrival, many of those things have stayed the same, but there has been a change in personnel.  Penny no longer occupies the space she once did.  Our son Liam has replaced her.  The other morning as I was sitting there with Liam, Penny sat at my feet staring at me and I am sure she was thinking to herself, “that used to be my spot.”

This situation applies to many more areas of our lives.  Certain things will always come up that will replace something that was once important.  And there will always be certain things that need to be replaced.  But in that moment, when Penny was staring up at me, I couldn’t help but think about the many things I use to replace God.  My heavenly Father should occupy every aspect of my life, yet I often examine those areas, and I must confess, that many times I find something else is sitting in His place.  Most of the time what has been replaced is the time I spend with Him in prayer, reading Scripture, and other Spiritual disciplines.

There are seasons in my life where there is a rhythm to life and everything seems to be as it should.   There are other seasons of life, when that rhythm is broken, and I wake up one day to find the cup of coffee, the recliner and a dog/baby boy are still there, but the Bible has been replaced by another book. The time I have set aside for prayer is replaced by an intramural flag football game.  The time of solitude set aside for a Friday morning in Cameron Park has been replaced by breakfast with the football team I coach.  These replacements are not bad in and of themselves, however, when placed next to the Creator of the universe, these things should be considered nothing.  In Philippians 3:8-9, Paul is talking about the things he attained in life and I believe his words apply in this situation as well: “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…”

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