The question is not whether you will worship, but rather what you will worship—your glorious Creator or something he created.

The question is not whether you will worship, but rather what you will worship—your glorious Creator or something he created.

I disappointed myself yesterday. I failed to live up to my standards. It hit me later that if I cannot live up to my standards, how can I ever hope to keep God’s law? Let me unpack this moment for you. I was doing some of the reading that I have to do in order to do what God has called me to do. I was enjoying my peace and comfort. As I was reading, Luella interrupted me to ask me a question. Immediately I snapped at her that I was busy and didn’t need to be disturbed. She walked away quietly, only to come back a few moments later to ask, “Can you explain to me why you responded to me as you did?” The minute she said this, I was crushed, filled with grief. I had done it again. I had been the husband that I don’t want to be. I had treated a person that I say I love with irritation and impatience. Now, why did this happen? It is humbling to admit, but my problem wasn’t a relationship problem, it wasn’t a schedule problem, and it wasn’t just a misunderstanding; No, I did what I did because I still have a worship problem. You see, all our hearts live and respond under the rulership of something, and there are only two options: God or something he created. Let me say it this way—it is only when God is in his rightful place of rule in our hearts that people are in their appropriate place in our lives. You and I can keep the second greatest commandment (“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” Mark 12:31) only if we keep the Great Commandment (“You shall love the Lord your God,” v. 30). If God is not in his rightful place, guess who we insert in his place. In that regretful moment with Luella, I gave way to the most seductive, addictive, and deceptive of all idols—the idol of self. The idolatry that defeats us is usually not the worship of formal religious idols, but of a whole catalog of God-replacements, the chief of which is the self. So I am in desperate need of a Redeemer who not only can protect me from external idols, but who can rescue me again and again from me. No, you cannot divide people into those who worship and those who don’t. The most irreligious person on earth worships, because worship is first a human identity before it is a human activity. Everything we do and say is rooted in worship. Every choice or decision flows from worship. Worship is the inescapable occupation of every human being. The question is not if we worship, but what we give our hearts to worship. Because we worship things other than God, we fail to keep God’s law. So Jesus came to defeat the sin that causes us to worship everything but God. The purpose of the cross of Christ was not only to forgive us for our idolatry, but to reclaim us for the one thing that every human being was created to do—worship of God. The grace to worship what we are meant to worship is the grace that we all need. For further study and encouragement: Romans 1

Tripp, Paul David. New Morning Mercies (pp. 670-671). Crossway.

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