G.K. Beale has said, “Whatever your heart clings to or relies on for ultimate security is your object of worship.”
Most of my fellow churchgoers would not argue with this definition of worship. In fact, I have personally defined worship as anything that captures your attentions and affections.
What strikes me most though is the verb “clings” used by Beale. In my mind I can picture myself latching onto the thought of having a girlfriend in the 7th grade… I knew what I was worshiping.
I can vividly recall my almost sociopathic pursuit of great grades and accolades through high school… bowing low at the altar of achievement.
There’s no denying the idolatry of my early 20s when, even in ministry, I was worried about
who I knew and who knew me… in the cult of personality.
I could go on and on, but the examples from the latter half of my life are still a bit too fresh. Actually they’re still open wounds.
I think the reason the first commandment is to have no other gods before Him and the second is to have no idols or graven images is obvious. Humans have a horrible tendency to replace God with anything convenient.
Again, Beale’s definition screams out at me with that word “cling.”
Let me paint a picture of the mental visual this quote created in my mind and see if you don’t have the same concerns.
I can imagine myself praying passionately, continually and powerfully to a holy God for something as noble and pure as the health of my children. But, moving past the veneer of my prayer I realized that the purpose powering my prayer is not my zeal for God. In fact my prayer is fueled by my idolatry… my family.
I turned to God not because He is what I worship, but because I hope He can help protect what I am worshiping. I often get caught in cycles of pseudo-spirituality where I am praying to God and feeling like I’m where I should be, but all the while I’m just trying to use God to further my agenda, protect my interests, and serve my idolatrous lord.
I know these are pretty tough words, but if this happens in our lives it’s a sin that needs to be rooted out viciously.
Don’t get me wrong, we should be people of prayer taking every concern to Him.
Praying for your family. Praying for health. Praying for blessing. But, when my purpose and focus is anything other than Him and His glory, I am simply trying to use God for my own purposes.
Again, we should pray for our children, for health, for blessing, for any and everything. Simultaneously though, we must continue to monitor what we are truly “clinging” to, and make sure that it is God alone on the throne.
Maybe this is a spiritual heat check for you, or maybe it’s just confession for me. Either way, may God be what He deserves to be in both your life and mine: Lord of all.
5Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,1 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:5-11 ESV)
4 Replies to “Pardon me Lord may I have this seat”
Aaaaahhhhhhhh!!!! Phil 2:5-11. I have studied those verses over and over. When I think I have finally “arrived” at the feet of the Father, I am reminded that I have not. I am still on my journey. I am reminded that I am clinging to a good word from my boss. I yearn for accolades from friends….”boy, that Steve really has it together spriitually”. It’s all garbage. It’s all stuff. Paul tells us how Jesus set the benchmark for worship. He loved us all so much that he gave all, even his very life. Very sobering. No, sir, I am not there. I am, to quote and old hymn, “pressing on to higher ground”.
Thanks, I needed that. I was thinking I was starting my mid life crisis. Lately I have been thinking that I have become a slave to the things I worship. When I think about getting rid of my stuff so God can use me to go and do what he wants, to get rid of the anchors; I start thinking. I can’t git rid of the pictures of the kids, those boxes can stay. I can’t get id of my books, those boxes can stay. All of this is good stuff that someone can use, maybe I can sell it, I will keep these boxes to sell. My basement is full, my garage is full, my rental storage unit is full, and I can’t go anywhere while I protect my stuff. My definition of worship is, “What ever you are a slave to is your worship.”
I tend to over write, huh. I mostly comment on posts so people know that I read their blog, and didn’t go to the page, trip the tracker, and leave.
Good blog. Ask yourself what can I live without. It is a nice way to see who or what you really worship.
Lord Jesus, Your will for my life, Your will for these years, Your will for this day. It is about dying to ourselves and becoming reborn in You. It hurts sometimes and I feel like a 3 yr old does when they get a toy taken away or, something special and valuable, that cannot risk a 3yr old’s inquisitive abuse. I find myself wanting so badly for God to direct my agenda, when in all reality its simply about following and acknowledging His. It stings at first! Big Time! Thank You Abba Father for not tossing me out due to my selfishness, ignorance and at times my defiance.