What if everything you treasured was suddenly taken away, what or who would you miss the most? Would you agree that what you value determines how you make most decisions?
The definition of worship is ascribing value to something. When we worship God, we are saying that we value Him above everything else (Romans 12:1). We are to present all that we are and all that we have to God. This is the worship God requires of us. Worship is way more than singing songs.
500 years ago, John Calvin stated that the human heart is an idol factory. Isn’t it true that even saved people have a tendency towards idolatry as we value other things above God?
When we do not value God, we value other things, football, cars, careers, houses, celebrities, relationships and many other things. When we give these things greater value than God, we worship them, and we suffer the consequences of giving our affections to temporary things.
In Romans 1:18, Paul writes that the wrath of God is being revealed against those who have chosen to ignore Him and pursue sin. This is not some future event; it is a present reality. In fact, we can see all around us in the state of the world that God is punishing sin. God is pouring out His wrath on people, who do not acknowledge Him as God. But in our weak understanding of the holiness of God, we protest and say, “that is unfair”.
Romans 1:19-20 explains that no-one has an excuse for not acknowledging God, as He constantly reveals Himself through the general revelation of creation (Psalm 19:1). Every person who has ever lived, knows that there is a God, and has an awareness of his majesty and transcendence.
The problem is that we live in a fallen world, and we are given to Satan’s lies over the truth. Idolatry is worshipping other things, replacing the truth with a counterfeit. Mankind is prone to distort the truth of God, reshaping Him into our own image.
Our post-modern world has created a god of our own preferences. We are a nation and a world of people who in essence worship ourselves rather than the one true God. This is the root of humanism. In order to ignore God, there needs to be suppression of the truth (Romans 1:18). A determined and intentional holding down of the truth for mankind to live in sin. Whenever we willfully sin, we have to suppress the Holy Spirit’s voice in our lives.
Mankind is guilty of suppressing the truth today so that they can live their lives without the demands of an all-holy God, and the result is suffering and destruction.
Calvin used the analogy of a blindfold when saying, “mankind chooses to put on a blindfold and then we stumble around cursing the darkness.”
Paul lists the results of idolatry in Romans 1:21-22. Mankind knows that there is a creator but has chosen not to thank or acknowledge Him. The result is a futility of thinking, an aimless existence running after temporary pleasures, leading to a foolish heart. You don’t have to look further than the evening news to see the truth of verse 22, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools”.
In contrast to this, true worship that honors and values God above all else leads to a heart filled with thanksgiving. Worshipping God gives us purpose for life as our hearts are softened to the perfect will of God for our lives.
The reality is that there is a very short step from idolatry towards immorality. If man has become his own god, then he determines what is good and he lives to please his own desires. Sadly, even in our church family, we don’t value God enough to gather and worship Him. The moment something else comes along that is more pressing, a sports game, homework, or the comfort of the pillow or the couch, we value that more than we value God. We prefer other things; we worship other things.
It is time that the church gets serious about where our allegiance lies as individuals and as the church. This is not a season for comfortable Christianity. We are in a war and the enemy wants to prevent us from gathering and encouraging one another.
In verse 24 onwards we see the results of living a life of idol worship. Three times we read, “God gave them up,” in verses 24, 26 and 28. Mankind has decided to ignore God and in turn God steps back and allows man to walk into sin and error.
This is one of the clearest passages in scripture that speaks to the sin of homosexuality. It seems that homosexuality and the rise of the LGBT movement seems to be more prevalent than ever before. Who would have thought that we would have a month of the year given over to the celebration of sin? However as we look back and see that over the last fifty years, the post-modern world has rejected God, and God has given the world over to sin.
In verse 28 we see that mankind’s abandonment to sin leads to a debased or a depraved mind. Paul lists twenty-one specific sinful behaviors, all of which are commonplace in our communities. We tend to focus on the “bad” sins of murder and the like, but what about the sins of gossip, slander, and envy for example? Sadly, these are all prevalent in the church because we are not worshipping God as we ought to. We can never worship God in Spirit and in truth and gossip at the same time.
We don’t grasp the importance and the power of a worshipping church, and we don’t fully understand worship. Worship is not simply singing songs. There are many people who come to church every week but never worship.
When we realize that we are in a war and that the only way to win the battle is by true worship by truly giving honor to God, we will begin to worship. And worship always wins (see 2 Chronicles 20).
What are you struggling with today? Try valuing God above all things. Worship God.