Daily Devotion Monday, November 9, 2015
This week our daily devotions will be reflecting on the vision of my church, which is "To Know Jesus & Show Jesus"--a vision that was outlined in last week's sermon entitled, "Knowing & Showing: What It Means To Be Us" Every day this week we'll be focusing on our five core values (Worship, Pray, Grow, Love and Serve)--values that enable us to pursue our vision. If you would like to read the transcript of the sermon, click HERE.
Today we're going to spend some time reflecting on Worship, which is the first of our five core values--what we call "The Five Things" at our church.
The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is based on merely human rules they have been taught." - Isaiah 29:13
Many years ago, when I was leading a youth mission trip to Mexico, I got engaged in a late night theological discussion with a precocious teenager--a conversation I never forgot. He was struggling with his faith, trying to figure out what he believed, and he was also doing his best to get a rise out of me.
"I don't think I can believe in a narcissistic god who demands to be worshipped," he declared. Just like a teenager to throw you a curveball in the middle of the night after a very long day, right? And to be honest, I didn't really know what to say to him, but I had to try.
I told him that I could see how he might have that impression considering all the many passages in the Bible where God seems to be fairly demanding about worshipping only God. But I told him that the God I saw revealed in Scripture was demanding for a reason. Because what God knows is that we are all going to worship something. It's in our nature.
It's true. Lots of us well-meaning Christians let our worshipping hearts drift away from God, just like the people God is speaking about to the prophet in Isaiah 29:13. Just like those people in ancient Israel, we find ourselves going through the motions of worship, saying the things we are supposed to say, but with our hearts elsewhere. All too quickly we find ourselves worshipping success, money, our own abilities, even the Church--the list goes on and on.
When God demands our worship, it's for our own benefit. God knows that if we begin to worship anything else, the center won't hold and everything will fall apart. All of the things we try to put on a pedestal in place of God, just simply aren't God. And our God is so full of love and mercy, He would keep us from experiencing the pain of our dreams collapsing, and the hard realization that our false gods will do nothing but betray us.
May you give in willingly to the demands of a loving, just, kind and generous God who wants your authentic worship not because of God's ego, but because God wants you to experience the fullness of life in Him.