Our church family needs to continually embrace the Big Picture of understanding our need for redemption from our sin and reconciliation with God, as found in the unfolding plan and person of Jesus Christ (Gen. 3:15 cf. Is. 7:14; Mt. 1:23; Gal. 4:3-‐5; Heb. 2:14-‐18; Rev. 20:10). When we look at life through these lenses, navigating each day biblically becomes possible. So what biblical truths do we need to actively engage our minds to drive our habits and behaviors in 2015?
God created mankind to be worshipers. If you trace our origins and history from Genesis to the present, we all from out of our hearts worship something. Something will always gravitate to the throne of our hearts. There are no passive worshippers, only idolaters and God-‐fearers. This means we need to take intentional steps to Reclaim Genuine Worship in 2015.
Worship can be defined simply as honor and adoration directed towards an object. John MacArthur has noted, “The New Testament uses several words for worship…proskuneo, a commonly used term that literally means ‘to kiss the hand,’ or ‘to bow down’…used to signify humble adoration…latreuo, which suggest rendering honor, or paying homage.” Worship of God is a biblical truth that needs to engage our minds.
Life will be one big worship war. In Genesis 4:1-‐16, the story unfolds of two brothers seeking to worship. The narrative reveals the real hearts of each man. Able teaches us to honor God from our hearts in directing adoration on God’s terms. God had “regard” for Abel’s offering of worship (4:4). However, Cain teaches us how deceptive our hearts can be in going through ritual routines. His heart was aligned to honoring a god manufactured on his terms, and God “had no regard” for his offering. God even reached out to Cain saying, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you…(4:7).”
We all need to pause for a moment, and look back over our last month leading up to Jesus Christ’s birth, celebrated as Christmas. Truly reflect…
• What was dominating your mind and heart?
• Where did you see yourself directing honor and adoration at work, home and church?
• How could others describe your behavior, during the festivities?
A portrait begins to be painted of our real worship style. The acts of our worship are simply the overflow of our ongoing worshiping lifestyle. What does the final brush stroke reveal? Do you see a masterpiece of God’s grace, or a fraudulent work of idolatry?
Idolatry is simply our actions in “exchanging the glory of the immortal God for images (Romans 1:23)” of our making. Romans 1:18-‐32 presents the biblical process of idols grabbing our hearts:
1. We “suppress the truth” that God reveals in His Word for any area of our life.
2. We do “not honor him as God or give thanks.”
3. We become futile in our “thinking, and…foolish hearts were darkened.”
4. We spout off our claims of wisdom, but “became fools.”
5. We “exchange the glory of God for images” of our making.
Paul Tripp has well said, “Jesus came to break the back of your idolatry. Jesus came to free you from your addiction to the shadow glories of the created world. Start right here, right now by crying out for His help. Admit that you’re magnetized by a whole catalog of god-‐replacements, and ask Jesus to intervene on your behalf.”
Let us start to navigate the “manageable moments” of 2015 by Reclaiming Genuine Worship of our God. Engage the deliverance of Jesus Christ’s redemptive power through repentance of our idols (god-‐replacements) and embrace Him in a worshipful faith! This is a practical step in experiencing God in all areas of your life this New Year.