My Idol--The Discipline of Worship

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."--Romans 12:1 I have an idol in my home. It is life-sized and very demanding. I am at its beck and call from the moment I wake up until the time I go to bed at night. Whatever it wants, I seek to satisfy. Whatever its whims, I pursue. It is a relentless master and whenever I stop for a break, I can be sure the sting of the whip will follow soon after.

Maybe you have an idol like that too. My idol, not surprisingly, looks just! If I am completely honest, my idol is myself---my desires, my ambitions, my preferences, my schedule. In public, I am able to hide this idol, but in the home, it rules and reigns. When my children hold me up, when things don't go my way, when my ideas are thwarted, that's when my idol raises its ugly head.

The problem is, that in our home, there are five such idols. Like the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology, they are always fighting and arguing, each vying for their own way. As you can imagine, it does not always make home a pleasant place. When each of us want to do what we want to do, when we want to do it, in our own way, there is bound to be trouble, fights and arguments (James 4:1-3). Whether it be between husband and wife or between siblings, these idols can wreak a lot of damage.

This is why I think God wants me to start with the discipline of worship. Unless God is the focus and center of our personal devotion, we all have an idol that is all too willing to take its place. This usurper is always looking for opportunities to reclaim the throne that rightly belongs to God alone. It is a constant battle, a constant discipline to worship the Lord instead of worshipping ourselves.

This is because we are made to worship. G.K. Chesterton writes, "The crux and crisis is that man found it natural to worship; even natural to worship unnatural things...If man cannot pray, he is gagged; if he cannot kneel, he is in irons." The question is where are we directing this propensity to worship?

While self is one of the most common idols in our lives, we can make an idol out of anything---our husband, our children, our sexuality, our careers, our financial portfolios, our homes, independence, power, approval, success, control, happiness---the list is endless. Even if you do not have the same idol that I have, chances are there is an idol in your life that is also seeking to rule your heart.

The truth is what rules our hearts, particularly if it is not God, will lead us on a road away from the life He desires for us.  This really is a core issue to deal with. Whatever we worship, whatever is the center of our lives---even if it is something that is meant to be a blessing---that will direct our paths and shape our lives.

So, if I am not worshipping God, what do I do with this supplanter? According to Romans 12:1 it is really very simple. I present myself to God as a living sacrifice. That is what worship is. "The worship of God hapens when we put him first in our lives," Adele Calhoun writes. I either consciously discipline myself to focus on Him, or I will default to worshipping other idols. It boils down to a choice that I make every moment of my day. Worship is not about what I sing on Sunday, but what I choose in all the little moments in between.

Ironically, this is the path to the transformation we long to see in our lives. And yet without this core discipline, we will never get there. Worship is our part. Transformation into Christlikeness is God's. When we put Him front and center, He is then able to change us into His image as we behold Him. 2 Cor 3:18 tells us that we behold the glory of the Lord, when we focus on Him, we are "being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." Change into godliness happens when we worship. When my heart is rightly focused, I am then connected to the Source of all real life.

As we wrap up today, here are a few questions to think about:

What are your gods? If you cannot tell, consider what drives you or motivates you. What gets you up in the morning---is it faith or is it fear? Of what? What do you look to for satisfaction, for life, for purpose and meaning? What keeps you going day after day?

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