Week 3: What am I Really Worshipping?

Every person is a worshipper. In creation (Gen. 2) man was placed in a safe and bountiful setting where his material needs were provided, his purpose was defined, and his life was an ongoing intimate relationship of dependence and joy with God his creator.

All of that changed after the fall (Gen. 3). Man was cast out of the garden, the ground was cursed, and man was faced with the burden of his own survival. New and threatening things appeared in man’s life, things which man was not created to experience. Fear, confusion, shame, pain, disease, fatigue, jealousy, loneliness, pride, anger, and death all became central parts of the human experience and remain so today.

After the fall, mankind became worshippers of anything that would appear to relieve those burdens. We find in the Bible a thorough account of these things playing out in the history of mankind: man struggling and madly seeking solutions and comforts, and God intervening to provide a different direction. The message is clear throughout the Old and New Testaments: worshipping and obeying God brings meaning and clarity to life; pursuing the things of man and the world only increases our trouble.

The Bible calls this idolatry, and we all practice it in different ways. Just as in Old Testament times, it is a major barrier to our relationship with God and our own peace of mind. This week we’ll take a look at idolatry and challenge ourselves to see things that we might not have considered.

Day 15: What is True Worship and Why Does it Matter?

Read Exodus 20:1-4
The first and second commandments tell us more than we often realize. Read these verses carefully and ask yourself some questions:
  • What does it mean to worship the Lord your God? 
  • What other gods might I have placed in my life, knowingly or unknowingly? 
Remember, a god can be anything that we value, trust or depend on for our security, comfort and identity. If we are honest with ourselves, this list can become longer than we might ever have thought.

Day 16: The Blessings of True Worship and the Dangers of False Worship

Read Deuteronomy 6:1-19
The challenge in verse 5, to love the Lord with all our heart and soul and strength, can seem burdensome. In the context of the whole passage, it is the foundation of God being able to give us his full protection and blessing. When we depart from worship of God alone and stray to things of man and of the world, we move into dangerous ground.

Continue taking a look at your own life and thoughts. In our society, many false gods clamor for our attention and they can become very appealing and entangled in our thoughts. Ask the Lord to reveal some of these to you and then consider the subtle ways that they may have worked themselves into your thinking, values and attitudes.

Day 17: Changing God's Truth for a Lie

Read Romans 1:16-24
This passage in Romans is often used in a self-righteous way to condemn the values and behaviors of certain parts of our society. That may not be incorrect. However, it would be missing the point of the text if we failed to apply it to ourselves.

Ask the Lord to reveal to you places where you might have engaged in this great exchange. What are some things that you cling to in order to feel safe, secure and fulfilled? It might be money, job, reputation, appearance, opinion of others, and the list goes on. This is not an easy project, but it can be very fruitful if you take the time and are honest before the Lord.

Day 18: Modern Examples of Wrong Worship

Read 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Like the previous passage in Romans 1, this section of 2 Timothy is often used to condemn the direction of society. And that would not be entirely incorrect. But as with Romans 1, there is a treasure of warnings in these five verses, and we would do well to honestly face the question of how these things might have worked themselves into our own lives, in greater or lesser ways.

Remember, “last days” refers to the church age, not merely to the end times. These are issues that have confronted believers from the time of Christ, and we are not exempt today.

Day 19: It Gets Even More Serious

Read James 4:1-10
If you’ve become at all uncomfortable from this examination of the heart so far, today will not relieve that discomfort. This passage is a brutal challenge to believers. James goes so far as to refer to wrong worship as spiritual adultery. And he takes it down to the deepest places that we live, such as conflict with others and friendship with the world.

Day 20: How Wrong Worship Affects the Church

Read Revelation 2:1-7, 3:14-22
We close week 3 by taking a look at Christ’s warnings to His church through letters that He dictated to John for various churches in Asia Minor in the first century. They are warnings as to what pleases the Lord and what troubles Him.

Two issues appear repeatedly. One is loss of first love, which is addressed in the letter to the church at Ephesus. The other is allowing ourselves to be lukewarm, which is addressed in the letter to the church at Laodicea.

These issues are especially challenging to believers in today’s materialistic and success-oriented culture. We can measure our church by numbers, dollars, and programs, and along the way lose focus of personal brokenness, humility, and dependence upon Christ alone. Consider ways that these become a danger in our own body of believers here at Park Hills and St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, and ways that we can remind ourselves and others to be aware of them and deal with them.

Day 21: Praise Him and Reflect on the Week

Praise Him and reflect on the week!