Friday, February 10, 2012

What your life says about what you worship...

Imagine, crowds pressed into an amphitheatre watching with disgusting eagerness a man being ripped apart, limb from body, by wild horses. Smell the stench of the sweat and excitement of those around you. Breathe in the terror and agony of the man in the ring. Feel your heartbeat accelerate at the squeals of the horses being driven mad in order to torture a human.

Now, smell the sweat and excitement of another crowd. Listen to the roar of those around you. See the wild colours, vulgar gestures, grimacing faces (both in the crowd and in the ring) raging about you. Where are you this time? In an amphitheatre filled with thousands upon thousands of persons, yes. Unimaginably huge monitors flash replays. The smell of beer and sweat hang in the air - your favourite sports team has just taken the field in the second half of their game.

In the gladiatorial theatre those in the crowd worshipped the emperor, but they also exalted violence and entertainment.

In our current culture many persons give lip-service to God, but in their hearts they worship something else.

My question to you is, what does your life show that you worship?

You probably know (or are) someone like my neighbour. She has a Colts jersey, hat, and autographed card from Peyton Manning. She sports a Colts flag and tire cover on her porch and vehicle. Sundays after church you can find her watching the big game. Everyone who knows her knows that she is a Colts fan.*

Maybe you hate sports... But perhaps you cannot stand being single. You are always hoping that you will meet someone to spend the rest of your life with. You want to raise a family with them and grow old together. Or you may have met that special person and now you have children. Are your children the apple of your eye? Does their love, approval, happiness, or success mean more to you than anything else?

Are you like me, reading [somewhat less than] copious amounts of books, articles, and essays? Does your conversation focus on philosophy or historical figures and writers? Do you value a reader, an 'intellectual', over someone who watches liberal amounts of television?

Maybe you spend much of your time at work, working out, cooking organic meals, eating fast food, trying to follow rules, living a raucous party life, trying to look young, or one of a myriad of other things.

What do your habits say about what you worship?

When someone walks into your home or room, what will they see that you value? What do most of your conversations focus around? How do you spend most of your hours each day? What do you think about when you do not have to focus on something in particular?

For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.
~ Philippians 3.18-19

What is your functional saviour? You might know that no one and no thing but Jesus can save you from the end result of sin (death). But what are you setting your mind upon? Where is your focus? What is that one thing more that if you had it you would be happy? What is something that if it were taken from you, you would want to cease living? Is it your job, your house, romance, marriage, children, parents, your physique, your country, your talent (singing, writing, athletic ability, etc.), sports, a person, or something else?

Paul finishes out his thought in Philippians thus, "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself."

Are you willing for Jesus to subdue even you to Himself? Are you eager to spend time with Jesus? Do persons you talk with know by your actions alone that you are a Christian? What does your prayer life look like in God's eyes? Do your thoughts go naturally to Scripture or praise? Does knowing that it cost God the very lifeblood of His Son to make you His child overwhelm you, or does it bore you?

I am not saying that I am always eager to spend time in prayer, praise, or Scripture. However, I want to be eager to know God more deeply. I want to see God's holiness. I am willing to know God through suffering and sorrow. I want to practise loving others like Jesus loves me... Even though it costs, and even though it hurts, and even if it is not returned. And I am scared to death that the LORD will actually take me up on teaching me to be more like Him in these ways. But I am willing.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
~ Colossians 3.1-4

For a more in-depth look at the idols of our hearts and how to shift our focus, listen to Tim Keller here.

~ Johanna

*My neighbour, mentioned above, is also a Christian... I am not bashing her love for her team, nor sports as sports. I was merely showing that even a good thing (even morality) can become an idol if not submitted to Christ.


  1. Jody,
    Well said. You need to compile these in a book.

    *I liked the clarification there. :)

    1. Thanks, Andy! I would really like to write a book, or at least get some of my essays published. :)