Every Soul’s Longing
Creator or creation . . . each individual shall bow before one or the other. Our hearts are made with a longing to worship. When speaking of idolatry in Romans 1 Paul says that the unbelievers had “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever! Amen (vs. 25).” This is a common dilemma of the human heart. We find ourselves either bowing before the true and living God or a false deity of our own fashioning. Biblical reality stares us in the face exclaiming that it is present all around us!
What do the lost, workaholic, multi-millionaire CEO and the broken, homeless meth addict share in common? They are both bowing down before idols. Each are slaves to their sin and have chosen distinct idols of creation to worship. In one case, perhaps it is wealth or fame, maybe achievement and success which are the gods before whom the sacrifices are laid on the altar. In the other, it might be the physical sensation of placing a drug in the veins, or maybe an idol of forgetting the pain of the past. Even though the two men are in two very different positions of life, they both share a root issue. That problem is the sin of idolatry. This dilemma faces each individual soul. Selfishness, comfort, pleasure, ease, and luxury, all make fine idols before which many bow. Some parents place their kids’ lives on the sacrificial altar in order to appease the gods of popularity and mere “worldly success” in the local communities. The idols are wide and varied, but sin is the root of each one and our hearts are easily led astray to be focused on someone or something other than the Living God.
Your Life Demonstrates Your Worship
Immediately before the ten commandments are given, God says:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” -Exodus 20:2
Notice how this chapter opens with God speaking about who He is and what He has done on behalf of His people. It is on the basis of God’s character and action that His people obey Him. In other words, the reality that He is worthy of worship is the foundation for walking in obedience to His commandments. Knowing that fact drives us as believers to live in submission to Christ. That is why if we love Him we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). Our love for God is a result of the salvation we have been given by His action. Loving and delighting in Christ leads us to bow down before Him in praise and adoration which then brings us to find even greater joy in Him. Our calling is to actually lay down our lives as believers as a “living sacrifice” because this is our “spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).” All of this flows out of the heart of the believer because they have been brought to know God by His grace.
The life of those engaged in the practice of idolatry also clearly demonstrates who they are worshipping. When a man gives in again and again to his alcoholic addiction becoming drunk habitually that shows the god he is worshipping. If someone works over 100 hours a week for 30 years neglecting their family, breaking their marriage, and winding up with no relationship with their children it is evident to see the devotion to their deity. The issue is not mere alcoholism, drug addiction, or being a workaholic. It goes down to the core of what they are worshipping for that is the very thing which they are building their lives around.
Dazzled By The True God
Once a sinner is changed by the power of the Gospel of Christ, they are given new life in the Lord. Their entire life is reoriented to where they are now seeking to honor Christ the Lord as holy in everything. Instead of seeing work as a means for personal aggrandizement, they now view it as an opportunity to glorify God by keeping a healthy balance, laboring well, and impacting others. They understand that pursuing their own pleasure and glory is an empty journey bearing no fruit, but to pursue the renown of Jesus is an endeavor which brings endless joy. Because of grace, they have caught a glimpse of the glorious God and now they are dazzled by Him which impacts every area of their lives. God’s grace propels their soul to show mercy to others. Christ’s sacrificial act on the cross pushes them to live in humility as a servant. His love drives them to love their spouse. The call of God to raise their children in the Lord now reorients their view to where they see their kids as a blessed joy to steward well from God.
Ultimately, what we must understand is that so many of the issues we see every day really stem from this war of worship. The teenager finding their identity in their success on the field needs the Gospel to transform their soul and bring them to worship the living God. Addicts need the saving work of Christ to set them free so that the Gospel can bear forth fruit in their lives. Pastors, deacons, church members, all of us as believers need to be more enamored by the glory of God. Because every second of our lives is to be to His praise and worship. Our greatest joy must be found in Him. We need Him to give us the grace to love Him more and reorient our lives, our thinking, and even our emotions around the truth of His Word. Let us then see this war of worship and know that the Gospel is the solution. May we be given eyes to see the harvest ripe all around us of sinners worshipping false gods who can be redeemed because Christ rules and reigns!