In Sunday’s sermon, Rich preached a great word about being made in the image of God. He said we are created to worship and reflect the goodness and glory of God, and he pointed out how we are like mirrors, when we reflect that which we worship, we become like that which we worship. The original Plan A was that when we worship God we would reflect His goodness to others, and we would become like Him. But sin broke the plan. Now we are in Plan B which has introduced many alternative gods to worship.
We become like that which we worship. I see that principle in Hosea, when he said that when Israel devoted themselves to sexual perversion at Baal Peor, they “became detestable like the thing they loved” (9:10).
Israel worshiped Baal, they reflected Baal, and they became as detestable as Baal.
So, why is it true that we become like that which we worship?
It’s true because we are designed as worshiping machines – we cannot not worship something or someone. We are designed to reflect that which we worship. If we worship God, we reflect God. If we worship money, sex, independence, freedom, family, nationalism, etc., then we reflect those things. What we worship is our ultimate source of hope and it always comes up in our conversations. Becoming like that which we worship is inevitable. You can’t worship Baal (or money, sex, nationalism, sports, etc.) and become like God.
But, when are we “worshiping”? We are worshiping something when we think that object, experience or person will give our lives meaning, value, significance and security.
Tim Keller writes,
“… the human heart takes good things like a successful career, love, material possessions, even family, and turns them into ultimate things. Our hearts deify them as the center of our lives, because, we think, they can give us significance and security, safety and fulfillment, if we attain them” (Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit Gods. Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)
So, we reflect the gods we worship. We spend our time, money, energy pursuing things that we think will give us life. Then, we reflect those gods (idols) to those around us as that which we have lifted up as worthy of our hope, time, affection and money. But those idols will ultimately fail us. And when they do, we can become panicked and depressed. If you are reading this you are not immune to these pressures – because our world walks by sight, not by faith. But God’s word tells us that we, as followers of Jesus, “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).
Because we become like that which we worship, the perennial test is will we worship the Creator, or the created?
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened…because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Romans 1:21, 25).
The good news is that God will never fail us. Only through worshiping Him can we properly function as the worship machines that we are – reflecting His goodness, kindness, grace and glory.
And there is peace amidst the storm when we worship the Creator.