Lessons from Doctor Who: What God Are You Giving Your Life To?

We make things into false gods by allowing them to consume us. Do you know what god you're giving your life to? Things we can learn about following God from Doctor Who: Rings of Akhaten.

Giving your whole life to God is the only way to truly have life. So why do we allow other things to consume us?

What are you dedicated and devoted to? Think of some things right now. Maybe you’re dedicated to your job or your volunteer work. Maybe you’re devoted to your spouse and your family. Maybe you’re dedicated to your goals.

These aren’t bad things. But are they what we should be giving our whole lives to?

And what about the bad, not so healthy things that seem to take over our lives? Netflix? Social media? Gossip? Jealousy? Sin?

Why do these things seem to sap the life out of us?

Doctor Who’s Parasite God

In Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 7: The Rings of Akhaten, The Doctor takes Clara to visit a new planet. They arrive in time to see a religious festival, The Festival of Offerings. Clara meets a young girl named Merry Gejelh. Merry is the Queen of Years – she has been raised from birth learning her planet’s stories and customs, and is trained to sing to the Old God at the upcoming Festival. But something goes wrong during the ritual, and Merry is taken for the Old God to consume her soul.

The Doctor and Clara rush off to save her, but at first Merry refuses their help. The Old God demands a sacrifice, so she must give herself. This culture has operated for generations according to the belief that the Old God is to be served and feared. She has to do whatever necessary to placate him, so he doesn’t destroy them all.

The Doctor and Clara are finally able to convince Merry that her death is not necessary, and save her and her planet. As the Doctor faces down the Old God (who turns out to be a planet that is leeching off of the planets around it), he gives this speech:

“Oh, you like to think you're a god. You're not a god, you're just a parasite, eaten out with jealousy and envy and longing for the lives of others. You feed on them, on the memory of love and loss and birth and death and joy and sorrow!”

– The Doctor, Doctor Who, Season 7 Episode 7, The Rings of Akhaten

Merry and the other inhabitants of her planet were afraid of their god and believed they needed to give him anything he wanted in order to keep him happy – including their lives. But he wasn’t a god at all. What they had believed was their god was really just a parasite taking from them, sucking the very life out of them, and providing nothing in return.

Giving Your Life to a False God

Just like Merry and the rest of the planet, we give everything over to false gods and let them suck the life out of us.

Now, wait a minute, you’re thinking. I don’t have false gods! I don’t worship those other things you’ve been talking about! I certainly wouldn’t give my life for them!

No, maybe not in such terms. And maybe you wouldn’t die for these things. But we can absolutely give our lives over to be controlled by things that we should not be controlled by.

This is what the Lord says:

“What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. – Jeremiah 2:5 NIV

These things that control us, control our thoughts and our actions, have a great impact on us. More than make us waste a little time, or be a little rude, they make us completely worthless.

Oof. That’s harsh.

So obviously we need to worship and follow something (someONE) that is worth following.

Hint: God.

Following these other things makes us worthless and drains us of life.

What makes following God different?

God is Worthy of Being Followed

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV

What makes God worthy of giving our lives to? He gave His life for us already.

Just as Merry was ready to give her life to the Old God, we had given our lives to darkness. We were already dead in our sins, being consumed by sin and the enemy.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says that we are not our own; we were bought at a price.

We gave ourselves over to death. We gave and gave until there was nothing left, and then gave some more. We racked up quite a debt. And that debt was paid in full.

Jesus died so we could be free. And so we must follow him and dedicate our lives to him. He is absolutely worthy of it.

God Makes Us Whole

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. – Colossians 2:9-10 NIV

The same chapter in Jeremiah that talks about us being worthless when we follow worthless things, also compares us to broken cisterns, trying to fill ourselves but never succeeding.

False gods are not able to satisfy. It may seem like those things fill us, for a time, but we are always left empty. Sometimes even more empty than we were to begin with.

False gods are incapable of making us whole. But Jesus, being wholly God, is able to make us whole in him.

God Gives Us Life

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. – John 10:10 NIV

The Old God, like the false gods we worship, was intent on one thing – to destroy. The enemy sends these tempting things into our lives to try steal true life away from us. He distracts us with shiny things that sound wonderful, while taking or destroying everything that is actually good.

But there is a way to be restored and made alive. When we give our lives to God, we actually gain true life in return.

Sacrifice Yourself

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. – Romans 12:1 NIV

Human sacrifice is typically frowned upon in our society today. But we still give ourselves over to be consumed by things that are far from worthy. What takes up all your time? What dominates your thoughts? What has the greatest effect on your emotions?

There are so many false gods in our lives, consuming our souls, and we often don’t even realize it. We just go with it, because the gods demand it and that’s just the way life is.

We give ourselves to work, to popularity, to wealth, to success, to possessions. The list goes on. These things aren’t inherently bad, but once we start to worship them and be consumed by them, they become very bad indeed. We can also be consumed by sin (which IS a bad thing). Do these things have the right to demand our lives?

God demands our lives as well, but not because He needs to empty us of our lives to survive.

He demands our lives because committing our lives to Him is the only way.

Being consumed by the Old God meant a loss of a soul, a loss of a life. When we are consumed by God, we are the ones who gain. We gain wholeness, life, love, belonging – everything worth having.

Are you giving your worship to the One who is worthy?

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