Today, the question of the age is not “will you be worshipping,” but it has become “what are you worshipping?” Jeff Deyo, a professor at North Central University, preached in NCU’s chapel on this matter as well, talking about this very idea that everyone is worshipping something.
It’s almost ironic that during a time of thick atheism & reckless human autonomy, we find still that everyone is worshipping something. The atheist in the world is most likely to be worshipping themselves (as bearers of the definitive “truth”), their work, or their income. The idols being worshipped in the world are everywhere, and we see the evidence of it in how we spend our time, thoughts, and finances. Where are your thoughts most concentrated? Where are you spending the most money? What consumes most of your time? Check your calendar, check your wallet, and check your thoughts.
Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that we all realistically [can] spend eight of our 16 hours a day in Bible study & prayer (though that would be fun), but we can certainly walk through our lives with a daily awareness and dependence on God. This alone can be an act of worshipping God, and one that can be done without standing still. (But please do spend time being still with God).
Worshipping in the Marketplace
What are you worshipping?
Worshipping idols is common practice in our workplaces now, which is even more reason we need more Spirit-filled and Spirit-led worshippers of Christ in the marketplace. Why not be the beacon of hope & light in your workplace?
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16).
Christians have a unique flavor, a seasoning if you will (Matthew 5:13), in that they can add zest to any room they’re in. That’s part of being the salt of the earth, but it’s also part of carrying God’s living Spirit within you. As a born-again, Spirit-filled believer, we are burdened & blessed to carry God’s living presence with us as His temples, which means that wherever we go, the presence of God goes. And what I love about that is that “… where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17). So, as temples of His Spirit, we actually bring freedom wherever we go! Isn’t that cool? I think it’s cool. I bet your coworkers would think it’s cool, too.
As God’s people in the marketplace, consider what you can do to bring the Spirit of the Lord, and His freedom, to the people around you. Pray, and ask the Holy Spirit how He wants to bring freedom to your workplace, and then take part in that liberating work through humility and obedience.
Unfortunately, it has become all too easy for even the Christian to wander astray into worshipping idols. We have them handed to us every day, whether through our phones (or our phones themselves), our calendar, our families, our workplace… Even our ministries! For the vocational pastor or church leader, even ministry itself can become an idol.
Worshipping in the Church
Worshipping at the feet of ministry itself is a very clear example of idolatry. Jesus created His ministry, the Church, and often times we can become so consumed by working for Jesus that we forget to be with Jesus. This topic has become the subject of many ministerial leadership books, but this element of worshipping the ministry, or the minister, rather than worshipping Jesus often leads pastors to burnout.
As I mentioned earlier, Jeff Deyo preached in NCU’s chapel not too long ago. He mentioned something quite powerful that fits well here – he said, “we crave what we consume.” While this is unmistakably true of sugar, coffee, and fast food, it is also true of our spirituality & our worship. What we crave is what we consume. If we consume fast-food Christianity, we crave those spiritual highs without any of the work of maturing (either our character or our faith)- we can crave those intense emotional experiences, not the presence of God. And we end up chasing our next “hit” of emotions instead of chasing Jesus. That’s incorrect worship as well.
That reminds me so much of the EDM concerts I used to go to. Before I was saved, I got into going to these shows that were filled with all kinds of drugs, alcohol, and different kinds of emotional highs. I was certainly one of those people as well, but it was always so weird to me because we would go, following this idea or hope that the joy we see in the live shows of these artists would be reproduced in us – especially through the drug use – but then we’d leave and the comedown was awful, I didn’t feel genuine or lasting joy, and we’d end up lower than we started. And I think a lot of us as Christians today, especially young people, can end up doing the same thing with the Lord. That’s dangerous!
Worshipping God is meant to be personal, and it’s meant to be enduring. We are not worshipping God for the sake of an emotional or spiritual “high,” or even just for the sake of feeling happy. But we are worshipping God because we desire His presence, we honor His glory, and we want more of who He is, not just what He does. We want miracles, and we should, but God is more than miracles. We desire spiritual gifts and great moves of God, and we should, but God is more than gifts. We desire charismatic leaders and emotional experiences, but God is more than charisma, fog, and feelings. Worshipping God is a choice, and it comes as a result of our understanding that worship is not just a musical event or a concert on stage, but both a return of God’s love back to Him and an open heart to receive more of Him – and that doesn’t always look like emotional highs, jumping around, or dancing. Though, sometimes it does! And should!
We love God because He first loved us – and recognizing that is one step toward proper worship.
So, what are you worshipping? One way to find out is to ask yourself, “what am I craving?” Am I craving more of God’s presence? Or am I craving more of the world around me? Because our cravings are most often led by our consumption, we must take a step back and examine what it is we are consuming. To begin craving God, we must first choose to consume Him – His word, His Spirit, His presence, and His love. As we crave more of God, we find that worshipping Him becomes much easier. And much more enjoyable.
May the Lord find His Church full of true worshipers, those who worship in spirit & truth. May we be found faithful, always consuming God’s Word, praying by His Spirit, and worshipping His majesty.