September 10, 2018
Verse for the Week: Jonah 2:8; “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.”
I feel compelled to give you a fair warning because this one is going to get in your business a bit. So hang tight because if you are willing to make room to hear God, He will teach.
This week we are going to explore a complex word with a huge capacity for meaning—worship. However, the capacity for meaning is only exponential if we allow it room. And the only way to allow it room is to dethrone that which is not worship worthy for the sole purpose of exalting that which is.
Modern-day worship is quite different than what we’ve come to see in Scripture. In Moses’ day, the Israelites made for themselves a golden calf in the middle of the desert. Mind you, this is after they had escaped from Pharaoh and the land of slavery, and crossed the Red Sea as the Lord held the waters back for them.
It might be outrageous to us, but not to them. They were desperate for someone or something to exert control over their situation. Even after seeing God move in miraculous ways, they found themselves stuck in the in-between and scared of the unknown.
So in an effort to satisfy their craving for comfort and control, they used the gold they had in hand and created an image they could see and touch (full account is found in Exodus 32).
As it is today, we may not actually make images of gold, but we create objects of worship nonetheless. Things that fill the space of worship often distract us from intimacy with God, hinder our ability to hear His voice, and compete for our time, energy and devotion to spiritual matters. You name it, knowingly or unknowingly, we craft and create little-g gods and place them on the throne of worship.
Why on earth do we do this? We do this because we were created to worship (Psalm 95:6). But all too often, we seek immediate gratification and accept faux satisfaction to appease this deep desire for worship. In our lack of true and right worship, we strive to fill this space with people, places, and things that over promise and under deliver.
Modern-day idols are just that—people, places, and things that are out of order. Out of balance. Out of place. This form of idolatry has become subtle and seductively alluring. Even good things such as sports, self-care, money, work, hobbies, and even ministry can become idols of worship. We have learned to take a good thing and allow it to displace God’s power, position, and purpose in our life.
Worship in and of itself is exaltation. By definition, worship is reverence and honor that is paid to someone or something. To lift something above ourself in rank. Elevate. Promote. Praise.
What strikes me about this definition is the word paid—reverence and honor that is paid to someone or something.
This implies that worship is not only about the act of ascribing, but it is about the exchange of sacrificing something of ourself to elevate that which is worthy. And in order to do that, it will cost us something. The writer of Hebrews calls us to sacrifice, to throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that entangles us (Hebrews 12:1). There is a cost in this appeal; a high price to be paid.
Like the Israelites, I’ve seen God move mountains in my own life and split waters to make a way. Yet, I find, more and more, that I am caught in-between who I am and who I want to be; who I was and who God is designing me to be. I waffle and hang in the balance of potential.
Why do I get stuck here? Because it costs me something to get from here to there; from point A to point B.
It’s hard to move out of the ordinary into the extraordinary because it costs us the comfort of the status quo. To move out of insecurity by way of honesty costs the image we’ve worked hard to portray. To learn new habits and break old ones costs us precious time and energy we don’t seem to possess.
What it boils down to is this—it costs us a heavy slice of pride to admit that we’ve misplaced the honor due to God because at the end of the day, what we are holding is just frivolous and faltering fool’s gold.
I am called to be a living sacrifice. You are called to be a living sacrifice. We are called to pay this personal price.
This process of exchange can be disorienting. In fact, change itself is disorienting. Yet, creating space through sacrifice will yield a reward so impactful we won’t be able to contain it or define it. For when we do, it allows us more freedom to say yes to God. But, it starts with a no. No to little g-gods in our life.
What do you say? Is it time to make room? To purge little g-gods from your life? To put first things first and return order to its rightful place? Well, it starts with an exchange. Exchange the fool’s gold you’ve been adorning yourself with and let the God of the universe bestow a crown of beauty, the oil of gladness, and a garment of praise as the display of His splendor (Isaiah 61:3).
Are you willing to pay the price? It’s definitely worth the cost!
Lord God, some days I look around and what I have in my hand is just fool’s gold. Things I’ve trusted in that don’t satisfy or honor you. Teach me how to lay them at your feet so I am free to say yes to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
What’s in your hand? Is it fool’s gold? Take some time to dig deep. Consider everything you exalt above God. Although these less than worship worthy entities sparkle in the light of day, they sting in the dark of night. And although they feed a hungry soul, they also sour in the stomach. They are fake, phony, and less than able to satisfy.
This week pray about one counterfeit Christ in your life. One that steals your joy and hinders your connection to the Creator. Offer it up. Humility is always the starting place for those of us who want to know God in a deeper way.
Hugs for a great week and remember, you are not alone. Be blessed as you cash in the counterfeit for the One who is worthy of worship.