What competes with our worship of God? Is it our misplaced worship of self, position, or others? We all have the propensity to substitute our affections for a counterfeit; however, when we do, we forgo the joy of embracing the truth we’re actually longing for.
In Acts 17, Paul was in Athens waiting for Timothy and Silas to come and join him. While he was waiting, he became aware of the culture of the city and “was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols” (v. 16). He didn’t take this moment to criticize, degrade, and judge the city; he used their idol worship as an entry point for the gospel. The Athenians spent a large portion of their lives talking about and listening to the latest ideas and philosophies, and Paul took advantage of that habit to bring them the gospel. And once he had their attention, he brought his point home: the unknown God they worshiped was, in fact, the God who made the world and sent His only Son to rescue them!
Life has a way of sobering us up to the radical transformative truths found in Jesus Christ. And as I mentioned earlier, death has a way of clarifying what matters. When I first began writing these words to you, I found myself in that ‘thin place’—that place between heaven and earth that is both rich and sacred.
The hospice ward in Brooklyn was peaceful and so was my mum-in-law, Jenny. Although her breathing had become labored, her smile was tender and filled with delight at the sound of a familiar voice. It was in that thin place, we were filled with the tangible, eternal presence of God. This earth is not our home, but what we lean into during times of finality and loss will show us what competes with our worship of the Living God.
I hope it is becoming clear that when the Word is planted within us and we humbly accept it, it can save our lives! If the Word is not planted within us, deception is a probable outcome. When we understand how good and kind God is and that He never fails us, we stop making worship about us because we cannot help but adore the One for whom we were created.
Does others’ figurative idol worship or misplaced worship burden you, or does it cause you to stand in the place of judgment?
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