Saturday, 14 September 2013

What do you worship?

I'm going to do a devotion for the school on Monday (God willing), and I thought I'd share it here. If you have any thoughts then feel free to comment below! All help will be appreciated.

Before I read the passage, I have a few questions for you to think about.
  • Where do you get your approval or your meaning in life?
  • What do you put most of your time, thought and effort into?
  • What would you sacrifice anything for?
Have a think about that while I read this passage from Habakkuk 2:18-20.
“Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches lies? For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.” 
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.

We were created to worship. That’s why we find it so easy to worship things. But because of our sinfulness we so often worship created things instead of the creator. We find things to replace God in our lives. The problem with that is that created things cannot save us.

The type of idols that Habakkuk is talking about aren’t exactly the same as we see today. He is talking about statues that people worship – and in our world there are some examples of that: people worship statues of Buddha or they worship trees and animals, but usually we don’t see that as much in Australia. Habakkuk points out that those idols are just wood and stone, they aren’t actually gods and they cannot save.

Instead, we so often worship different things. Remember those questions I asked you to think about before? Your answers to them will probably point out what you worship. Instead of giving God the best of our time and running to him for our meaning in life we so often put other things first. Maybe for you it’s sport, maybe it’s family, maybe it’s having the newest gadget or being really really good at Call of Duty.

I find that for me, it’s often my friends that I put before God. I work hard to get their approval and I find that even when I’m reading the bible or praying I’d prefer to be hanging out with my friends.

Sometimes we even try to put God into a box and make him into an idol. We think about him one way and ignore other parts of his character to make ourselves feel better.

Ultimately though, whatever we worship points to one thing. Why do I want my friends approval? Because I enjoy being around them and it makes me feel good. Why do we like being really good at video games? So that people will look at us and tell us how good we are. Why do we try to shape God into someone who is more appealing to us? Because we want things to go our way, we don’t want God to be in control and we don’t want him to do what he wants – we want our own way. We replace the one true God with other things out of pride and selfishness. We put ourselves in first place when only God deserves that place.

I want to tell you three things about idols and then three ways we can work on worshipping God alone.

  1. They never give what they promise. They may make us feel good for a little while, but they will always fail. Friends will stuff up and make mistakes, your PS3 will lag or break, your car will break down. We can't even trust in ourselves because we all sin and stuff up too. None of us are perfect. All of these things will slip away and if we build our lives on them then they’ll come crashing down like the house that was built on sand. Even if we base our lives on something that will last as long as we live, the truth is that we all die. God on the other hand always keeps his promises and he alone can give us eternal life.
  2. They always demand more. We can always have more money, better friendships, a better car and more stuff. Satan uses these things to distract us so that we won’t look to God. Jesus doesn’t demand more from us because it isn’t about us. We couldn’t do it ourselves. He did it all, and we need to obey him out of love and thanksgiving.
  3. These idols can’t help us because our problem isn’t physical, it’s spiritual. They cannot deal with our sin and our selfishness. Only God can. Only Jesus can take away our sin because he alone is perfect and he died in our place. Only God deserves our worship because he created us, he keeps us alive and he has done so much to save us. 
We worshipped our way into idolatry and we need to worship our way out. So how can we worship the one true God who satisfies completely and who alone can save?

  1. The first step to worshipping God is asking yourself if you’re a Christian. If you aren’t then you are still living in sin and you are God’s enemy and under his punishment which leads to hell. So how do you turn to God? Repent and Believe – put your trust in Jesus as the only way that you can be forgiven and give up your sin and selfishness.
  2. We can worship God more by understanding the gospel more. When we realise how much we don’t deserve Jesus’ sacrifice for us we will be more and more thankful for all he has done. Through Jesus there is complete forgiveness – we don’t need the approval of those around us. Through Jesus we are adopted as God’s children – we don’t need to be great and amazing in this world because it isn’t about us – it’s about God.
  3. We also can be working to worship God more by changing our thinking. We do that through a lot of prayer and by reading God’s word. When you start focusing on those things that you worship instead of God then pray for God’s help to change and start thinking about him. 

So my question for you is this: if God isn’t first in your life then what is? Everything else will ultimately fail and cannot help you eternally. Only God will keep his promises and only he has the power to forgive sin. God is the one and only true God, our idols are nothing. I’m going to pray that we will worship him alone.

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