I am taking this opportunity to share with you some thoughts that have been on my heart recently from John 4:23-24 regarding our heavenly Father’s seeking of worshipers.
There are certain truths from God’s Word that come into your mind by God’s grace and help you understand the spiritual life better. They are like spiritual keys that help you unlock all sorts of doors. The past few months have been somewhat of a spiritual “aha moment.” For example, I remember learning about “Union with Christ” and having that “aha” feeling. I call these “atomic” truths. They are truths so powerful and important that they overshadow many others. These truths are tremendously helpful as a pastor: like gaining a great new tool in the carpenter’s handbag. These truths build the most important thing for a follower of Christ: growth and change into the likeness of Christ.
The spiritual truth that God has allowed me to learn more about recently is worship. All Christians have heard this word: we use it all the time. In a limited sense, I have known about worship for a long time, but I never understood or meditated on its full significance. Its central role in determining human identity, character, and future have largely been missing from my understanding. That is why I want to share it with you.
Let us use Psalm 115:8 as an example. The context is idolatry, and it says, “Those who make them [idols] become like them; so do all who trust in them.” Wow! In Exodus 32 Israel became a “stiff-necked” people because they were worshipping “stiff-necked” calves. In Jeremiah 10, idols are called scarecrows, which obviously cannot speak, or walk, or see, or do anything. The amazing spiritual connection is that the people who worship these idols become like the idols. They became stupid, blind, and dumb. They become ignorant, powerless, and morally empty. Here is the spiritual key: You become more like what you worship. Worship guides identity, character, and destiny. Worship is the most important determining factor in the overall picture of your life. When your goal is to help people change more into the image of Christ this reality is spiritual dynamite.
Idols are deaf, dumb and blind, and if you worship them, you become dumb, deaf and blind. How embarrassing and sad. There is good news, however, if you worship the true God, you will become wise, noble, holy, and more like Him in every way! The goal of human life is the glory of God. The way we glorify God is to reflect His image accurately. We know we are to be more like Him. How? Worship. The more we worship Him, the more we will be like Him because you become more like what you worship.
The practical implication for this should be plain. Growth in godliness has everything to do with an individual’s heart. I am sure you can see the benefit for this in the Christian life. We can see the effect of worship on a national scale as well. The farther a nation gets away from the true God the more weak and spiritually blind it becomes. What is the key to getting out of this moral insanity? We must worship the true God in Spirit and in truth. That is God’s will. Please pray for the continued work of the gospel in Brazil for no one will worship God apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Douglas E. Leaman