Mark Driscoll in Vintage Jesus shares that many people serve and chase after functional saviors – false gods that we run after to “save us.” He shared how magazines and advertising reveals some of those functional saviors. When reading about this it reminded me of a group that I used to listen to in high school/college – Depeche Mode. They had a song called “Personal Jesus” which I think describes this tendency to reach out for all sorts of things to save us as the video below demonstrates.
We all have the propensity to have these “saviors”, our personal Jesus as Depeche Mode would put it, take up residence in our lives. Driscoll states that the question that needs to be answered is not whether we will run to a functional savior – those who don’t trust Christ do (as well as some Christ-followers). The question we need to ask is whether or not that savior we are trusting in can actually save us.
While a diet may help us lose weight, a spouse may cure our loneliness, and a child may give us joy and improve our quality of life, they work best as gifts from God to be enjoyed and not as functional savior-gods.
He lists some questions that can help us uncover functional saviors in our life:
- What am I most afraid of?
- What do I long for most passionately?
- Where do I run for comfort?
- What do I complain about most?
- What angers me most?
- What makes me happiest?
- How do I explain myself to other people?
- What has caused me to be angry with God?
- What do I brag about?
- What do I want to have more than anything else?
- Who do I sacrifice the most for in my life?
- If I could change one thing in my life what would that be?
- Whose approval am I seeking?
- What do I want to control/master?
- What comfort do I treasure the most?
Answering those questions honestly may be hard, but it is necessary to examine ourselves before God in order that we might rightly give Him preeminence in our lives. I know at times in my life my ministry served as a functional savior. Other times food. I encourage you to pray with King David, as you answer these questions, who said:
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting, (Psalm 139:23-24, ESV)!