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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Be Careful What You Worship

I served in a church many years ago whose members did a lot of work to renovate the building. They put in new carpets, painted the walls and brought the church building back to its original beauty.

This church had a ministry to the neighborhood that yielded many souls for Christ. Once a child from the neighborhood brought his bicycle into the church during this ministry time. No one saw him do so but they saw the black mark he left on the carpet from the bicycle. Several people wanted us to stop this ministry because they wanted to keep the building looking pristine.

I told them that I didn't condone bicycles in the building and that we will do a better job of watching the entrance. I also told them that something else could happen that would be much worse than a black mark on the carpet. I don't know what they expected for they nodded like they knew. I said, "It would be much worse if we had no children at all." They walked out of my office miffed at me.

I want people to respect the church buildings. I want them to take their hats off when they enter the sanctuary. I want them to throw their trash in the bins. However, I also don't want to think that anything that we have created, no matter how beautiful it is, is worthy of worship.

I have been where paintings, rooms and pulpits were worshiped. The people didn't even know they were doing so. They allowed these tools to become the object of worship.

People worship some objects over a period of time. The object becomes a comfort to them when their faith was being developed. They connect their growth in faith with this object. Before long they are worshiping the created rather than the creator. Paul speaks of this in chapter one of the letter to the Romans. You can see where losing your focus in worship will lead you.

Some times people worship an object because of the sacrifices they made or they see others have made to have that object created. They do not realize that they sacrificed to the object rather than the Lord when their attitude toward that object becomes worship. We are worshiping that to which we have made our sacrifices.

Of course, the item of worship may be a method that has been used. It will upset you if the new preacher starts worship services with prayer if your church started each worship service during your formative years by singing, "Victory in Jesus." We often connect things to worship as spiritual which are merely methods that comfort us.

You need to check why you are really upset if you find yourself not worshiping. Are you upset because the word of God is not preached? Are you upset because the worship is dishonoring the Lord? Are you upset because one of the things you associated with worship is being challenged as not worship at all?

I have seen people worship the hymnals, paintings, songs and people. None of these are worthy or worship. Be careful what you worship. The worship of anything other than the Lord is idolatry.

We worship God alone or our worship is like that in which Joshua has said, "Choose you this day whom you will serve." The people had added things to their worship. They were worshiping the idols of the people they had conquered. He continued, "But as for me and my house, we will worship the Lord."

Who or what do you worship?

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