Walking up the hill, the sleek, pillared temple was the destination for hundreds of Greek men and women. They carried some kind of sacrifice, knowing they could not approach the goddess of wisdom and war empty-handed. For those living in Athens, the Panathenaic festival was a way to express their honor and devotion to the goddess who ruled their city and protected them: Athena.
For thousands of years, Greek mythology has been a part of religion and a part of ordinary life for the Greeks. While the origin of these gods and heroes remains a mystery, there was a time when hundreds of people gave their everything just to please these gods. Temples were built, animals were sacrificed, and festivals took over cities as characters from stories came to life in the minds of anyone desiring an explanation for things that didn’t make sense without a higher being involved.
Worshiping the created
The Greeks created and believed in Athena and the other Olympians because they desired answers. They longed to attribute a reason for pain, for hatred, for love. And because their hearts were clouded, they built an empire of gods from fantasy instead of turning to the true Creator.
Maybe it was easier to relate to the gods who were more human than god when it came to tempers and actions. Maybe in their eyes it just made sense. Or maybe the stories were passed down as truth from their parents and teachers, and so they blindly followed.
However the belief in these gods and goddesses came about, one thing is sure: They spent their lives worshiping, honoring and giving to things that had no breath in their lungs, no life in their eyes.
This was their normal, their ordinary, their everyday. They gave their lives to an idea that left them empty and incomplete.
The Greeks’ desire for answers and skill for attributing characteristics to their gods shouldn’t sound like a strange concept. This day and age, we demand answers, search for solutions and give our opinion about God whenever a question about His character comes into play.
While we may not have a statue of Athena in our living rooms, we idolize the concept of learning, knowing and figuring out all the answers. Oftentimes, we hate the thought of not understanding, and so we assign ideas as truth, even if we made them up ourselves.
We put God in this box of answering all our questions. We hand Him characteristics and put words in His mouth, all in an attempt to better understand if we’re predestined or have free will, if pre-tribulation or post-tribulation is more accurate.
The same goes for answering questions of why bad things happen to good people. We grow nervous that we won’t be able to explain why horrible things happen, as if we hold responsibility for helping God out of an awkward conversation.
Desiring to have all the answers can lead us down a path where we prove no better than those who created and added to the stories of the Greek gods. To ensure the answers we want, we put God in the box we create. And soon, we are no longer worshiping and honoring the God of the universe. We are worshiping the God we want Him to be by our earthly standards.
The balance of listening and answering
There are questions we will never know the answer to this side of heaven. We will never understand if God allows for certain situations or if He specifically causes hardship in our lives. We will never understand the depths of His character or the purity of His love for us.
Why do we feel the urgent need to answer instead of listen? What would happen in our hearts if we simply surrendered the desire to know all things? We certainly need to be educated on the Bible, the history of mankind and theology, but what if our human understanding of how we want things to be is actually hindering our true worship of God?
What are the different boxes in which you put God? How does your desire for answers cloud the truth of who God truly is? Are you listening to the Holy Spirit in your life, or are you giving Him false characteristics to explain the unexplainable?
We aren’t meant to know all things. Our earthly brains simply can’t comprehend the ins and outs of God. We must come to terms with this instead of assigning God words and actions that don’t compare with His true glory. We must rise above the desire to provide answers for all things and instead bask in the glory of our Creator, the One true God.
Let’s Talk About It: How can you put aside the box and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit?