What do you worship?
I know your Sunday School answer. I don’t need to hear that. Of course, you worship God. But what else do you worship?
Let me define worship: You worship anything that you attach your ultimate happiness or identity to.
By that definition, you and I are tempted to worship a lot of things, aren’t we? Of course, there’s a natural joy we get out of the good things God gives, but when we over-desire something, it becomes sin. The Greek word is “epithumia” meaning “over-desire,” and is found in passages like 1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”
Righteousness is placing the same value on things that God does. When we make something more or less valuable than God does, we commit epithumia. Even good things turn into sinful things when we place the wrong value on them. Food is good, but over-desire it? Gluttony. Sex is good in marriage, but over-desire it? Lust, fornication, adultery. Money is good, but over-desire it? Greed.
It’s idolatry of the heart, my brothers and sisters! Paul wrote, “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry” (Colossians 3:5, NASB).
Do you have things or do things have you? Are you placing the same value on things—and even relationships—that God does?
This started in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. What happened when they took the fruit? They were seeking to satisfy themselves outside of God.
God said to Moses in Exodus 34:14, “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
God called His name Jealous? I’ve seen lots of nice names for God on refrigerators—Prince of Peace, Fairest of Ten Thousand, Lamb of God—but I’ve never seen that one! Why would God call His name that? Here is the essence: When you and I seek to satisfy ourselves outside of God, we arouse the jealous heart of God, because He wants all of our worship; He wants to be Chief of all of our affections; He wants to be our ultimate Satisfaction; and He wants to be the source of all of our strength. Why? Because…
1) He knows that He’s the only one that can be.
2) He’s the only One that should be.
God’s jealousy is his nature, and unlike our oft self-absorbed, selfish jealousy, his jealousy is righteous.
Tozer put it well: “Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine and ‘things’ were allowed to enter. Within the human heart ‘things’ have taken over. Men have now by nature no peace within their hearts, for God is crowned there no longer, but there in the moral dusk stubborn and aggressive usurpers fight among themselves for first place on the throne.”
The only way for us to properly enjoy all things God has given us is to place the correct value on them, the correct value on God, and arrange everything under the Lordship of Jesus. This creates true thankfulness, true joy, true contentment, and gives God the glory that He deserves.