By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
Well, it’s true, I am making a full confession. I used to worship me. I went to church and I went to youth group, but when it came down to giving worth to someone, it was all about me.
Now, I didn’t bow down in front of a mirror and chant my name; I didn’t offer sacrifices on a fire; and I did not write songs of my amazing accomplishments. If you had asked me who I worshiped, I would have said God.
However, most everything I did was for my own benefit. I studied hard to someday make lots of money so I could have cool things. I worked various jobs to make money so I could have cool things now. I played trumpet for accolades and a sense of accomplishment. I ate what I wanted, and watched what I wanted.
Did you notice, there’s a lot of “I” in that paragraph. Of all the pronouns out there, this is the only one that gets capitalized all the time. Why? You can read a lot more online about this, but the bottom line is that uppercase letters symbolize importance. I guess, I really am more important than you, them, or us.
Obviously, I eventually realized there is another who rightly deserves upper case letters. Interestingly, we not only capitalize God, but He and Him when referring to our Lord. In fact, you will sometimes see LORD in all caps in the Old Testament. This is to reflect a specific Hebrew name for God, YHWH, which warrants the upmost respect, so much so that the Jews would not speak this name aloud.
While capital letters are important and point us to what is most important, there is much more to worship.
Worship can be defined in different ways. It can mean…
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. (Matt. 22:37-38)
At some point I hope you realized, as I did, that you only deserve a small case letter. You hopefully surrendered your life to Jesus, acknowledging your sinful, self-centered ways; believing in God’s grace and mercy, and confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that makes it easy to profess faith in Jesus yet live as though I am lord. Consider Paul’s words to the church in Rome.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom. 12:1-2)
In view of God’s mercy, His incredible love and grace, we are to act. This causes us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices! So, stop crawling off the altar and conform to the world. Your body, your life, is not your own! You were bought at a price. The death of Christ covers your sin and makes you acceptable to God. It’s a free gift, yet to receive it means we gratefully offer our lives back to our Savior.
REFLECT ON THESE TWO QUESTIONS
When you stand in church and sing, who are you worshipping? What are you thinking about? The music? The sound guy? Lunch plans? What the people behind will think if you lift your hands? Or what the people in front of you will think if you sing with all your heart? It’s all a form of self-worship. Instead, put your attention on the words of the songs and ponder the nature and presence of God.
When you get up in the morning and as you go about your day, who are you worshipping? What are you thinking about? Pleasing your own desires or pleasing your Savior? Are you willing to sacrifice your wants and comfort to show love and grace to others?
Lord, forgive me for having worshipped me and sometimes still worshipping me. Forgive me for crawling off the altar to please my sinful nature. I know your great love has covered my sin, making temptation all the more appealing. Yet, sin is not what I want. Transform me by the renewing of my mind that I might know Your will and worship with all my heart on Sunday and every other day of the week.
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