Exodus 34:14, Romans 1:25, Psalm 13:6, 1 Peter 2:9
Exodus 34:14 says, “For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
The Bible makes clear who our primary focus should be. God, and God alone, is not only worthy of our highest admiration, but He demands it.
Worship comes in many forms, but when it all boils down, worship is giving someone or something the utmost praise, respect, and admiration. It is placing and celebrating something in the highest place of our thoughts and enjoyments. In a Sunday school environment it is easy to say that God has that place in our lives. But, let’s be honest, frequently our hearts elevate other things to that position.
In a world filled with shiny things, it is easy to turn our worship from the Creator to the created.
Romans 1:25 says, “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise!”
This verse captured my mind for many reasons. First, their false worship stemmed from a lie. “They traded the truth about God for a lie.” There are many lies that surround us every day. Some of these lies include: you are not good enough, you will never be good enough, you are not loved, you will only be fulfilled by_______, just try a little harder and you will find true success and happiness, if only you had ________ life would be easier, etc. These lies are told to us so often, in so many different ways, from so many different places that sometimes we start to let them take root into our hearts, and eventually we believe them.
So, how do we combat these lies? We turn to God in worship. We proclaim His truths. We proclaim His promises. We proclaim His character. We proclaim what He has done. We proclaim what He will do. Instead of trading truth for lies, pray that the Holy Spirit gives you discernment to see the lies that are trying to root in your heart. Then, reverse this verse and begin trading the lies for the truths of God.
What are some of God’s truths? Here is a quick, short, and very incomplete list. First, you are loved deeply and unconditionally. You are enough. You are cherished. You are protected. You have an immovable and eternal joy. God is always present with you. You do not go through anything alone. Change, and healthy change at that, is possible. You are strengthened by the same power that raised Jesus from the grave. You are more than a conqueror. And the list goes on and on as God’s Word reveals more and more about God’s loving nature.
The next part of this verse also speaks very personally to me. “So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself.” God is so gracious that He gives us a multitude of blessings that come in many forms. He graciously bestows to us relationships, jobs, homes, hobbies, talents, interests, and other things that are intended to bring us joy and Him the glory. However, in our fallen state, many times instead of giving God the glory for our gifts, we glorify the gift itself. We admire, we adore, we worship the creation instead of allowing the creation to point us back to the Creator. When we begin to glorify God’s creation instead of Him, we enter into a vulnerable state where lies are more likely to root in our hearts.
How do we identify these misappropriated gifts? How do we know in our own lives what we are worshiping more than God? First, pray about it. Ask God to reveal to you what is in your number one seat. Then take time to think about your life. What do you spend your time thinking about? What thoughts consume you when you are eating, brushing your teeth, walking the dog, and the other daily routines you have? What is the one thing in your life that you cannot live without? All of these are sobering questions to help us assess who/what has the number one seat of worship in our lives.
The last part of this verse helps us to turn our worship back to the One who deserves and desires our utmost worship. “Who is worthy of eternal praise!” God is worthy! Psalm 145:3 says, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.” Psalm 16:7, “I will praise the LORD, who counsels me.” Psalm 13:6, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.” Psalm 18:3, “I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” Revelation 4:11, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
Reflect upon who God is. He is far greater than we can imagine. He is our Defender. He is good to us. He delivers us from our enemies. He is the Creator. He is the Sustainer. He is our Healer. He is our Truth. As you reflect on the truths of God, ask Him to take over the number one seat of worship in your heart.
1 Peter 2:9 encourages us, "You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." Worship Him, and allow that worship to spill over into the darkness around you.