Have you ever thought to yourself: “My life will be OK, when…”?
Dave Lowrie – one of the leaders at the StoryHouse Congregation – asked this question when I was visiting them last week, and it led to a soul-searching discussion.
He said that if the answer to this question is ‘yes’ (which, for most people, is it!), then we were trusting in that thing as our ‘functional saviour’ , and committing… idolatry.
(Dave continued…) If we believe that our lives will be well when (and only when) we do have some ‘thing’ (whatever it may be), then we are trusting in that thing too much. Again, ‘it’ has become our ‘functional saviour’  – which is idolatry.
How is that idolatry?
When we are trusting in anything to ‘save us’ (on any level), more than we are trusting in Jesus to ‘save us’ , then He has been replaced in our hearts by that thing. It has become an idol to us.
In and of themselves, ‘idols’ are only things (like family, career, strength, security, popularity, achievement etc.), but we turn those things into idols (in our hearts) when we value them more than we value Jesus.
Sounds awful! What can we do about it?
The first thing we can do is just admit it. Come clean (Psalm 32.3-5). It is so easy to trust in created things rather than to trust in the Creator, and we need to acknowledge when we have done/are doing this, as we are breaking the 2nd commandment (Exodus 20.4).
The second thing we can do is ask for forgiveness. He is willing to forgive (1 John 1.9), and we should be willing to ask! It is good for us to do this, as it enables us to experience His pardon, and enjoy His peace. Whoever is forgiven much, loves much (Luke 7.36-50).
The third thing we can do is to change our thinking. We need to do some soul-searching and ask: “Where did we go wrong? What made us think that getting some created things, or human experiences, could ever give us what Jesus has offered to give us for free?”
Sounds hard. How could I go about that?
The Diocesan Rule of Life says that we are ‘Called to Learn’, and meaningful learning happens as we talk about meaningful things with other disciples of Jesus. This is probably the best way to both unlearn our bad ideas, and learn some better ones.
So let’s talk more, about meaningful things, with the others disciples in our Congregations. Let’s get learning. Let’s have more soul-searching discussions, which stop us trusting in other things. Let’s work towards ditching all of our ‘functional saviours’.
In God we trust.
By Dan Rogers
 For the origin of this term, See Keller, T. (2010). Counterfeit Gods: When the Empty Promises of Love, Money and Power Let You Down. Hachette UK.
 Theologically speaking, our ‘Saviour’ is Jesus. He is the One whom we think and say and sing that we trust in (at least in principle). However, the term ‘functional saviour’ refers to any other person or thing whom we may actually trust in more (in reality).