If I have made gold my trust or called fine gold my confidence, if I have rejoiced because my wealth was abundant or because my hand had found much, if I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendor, and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand, this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for I would have been false to God above (Job 31: 24-28).
What am I worshipping is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. In the midst of a season of changes (both literally and figuratively, thanks fall), at times what I’m worshipping with my thoughts, my actions, and my very life seems to get lost in the shuffle.
Am I worshipping God, or the gifts He’s so generously given? The gardener or His fruits? The one my soul loves or the things and people He’s put in my life to love?
Sometimes I don’t know the answer.
But here are five things (at least) I do know I’m guilty of worshipping, things not bad in themselves, but nonetheless ones I’ve worshipped in place of my relationship with Jesus.
Far from extroverted, I still love the people I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by every day. Add in a sizable tendency to be a people pleaser and you’ve got a recipe for putting other people not only above yourself, but also above God.
People are wonderful. We’re quirky, flawed, spontaneous, creative beings made up of a whole bunch of other adjectives just trying to keep it together in this thing called life. None of us are perfect, yet we still tend to set each other up that way, only to be devastated when we’re proven wrong.
Worshipping another person is a dangerous game, one we weren’t meant to play with our own fragile hearts. But we do it anyway, at least I know I have, and I’ve ended up disappointed every time. Better to love and challenge each other in and despite our imperfections, putting our worship toward One utterly deserving of our praise and adoration.
Life can be so great sometimes. Other times it’s not so great. But when it’s great I tend to forget the One who made it that way in favor of all the great things going on in my life (side note: how many times can I say “great” in this paragraph, probably too many times).
When life is good, the path clear, the storms far away, it’s all too easy for me to put my trust and comfort in the circumstances around me. Clearly I don’t need God, I’m doing just fine on my own.
But circumstances are tricky things. You never know when they’re going to change. Instead of worshipping the circumstances, I want to worship the One who loves me despite them, good times and bad.
The world is a beautiful place, am I right? In the middle of October especially, that natural beauty has been all over lately in the form of falling leaves and changing colors. But creation is the product, not the originator, the foil to God’s heavenly protagonist.
It’s all too easy for me to see a beautiful landscape, a quiet rainy day, the first snowfall and think, this is it, this is where my adoration should be directed. But luckily for me, and you, that waterfall, that blue sky, that perfect fall day, that’s not it. God’s creation is beautiful, yes, but all we see in front of us is secondary to the beauty we’ll experience firsthand in eternity. How awesome is that?
Oh, the future, a scary and beautiful thing. Worshipping my hopes for tomorrow, my dreams for years down the road, and my plans for the future is something I come back to again and again. One of the awesomely scary things about life is that we never really know what tomorrow will bring. But that doesn’t mean I should place my hope in that always illusive idea of tomorrow.
I love to dream about the future, think about what my life will look like five or ten or even thirty years down the road, but I don’t think it’s right, or even beneficial, for me to worship the ideas in my head versus the reality I’ve been gifted with today. Go ahead and dream, but worship the giver of the dreams, not the dreams themselves.
- My idea of God
God’s supposed to make me happy, right? I chose to follow Him so my life is pretty much guaranteed to work out the way I want it to, the way I planned. Maybe…but maybe not.
I sincerely believe that God wants His children to be happy, but I don’t know of anywhere in the Bible that says happiness is guaranteed, at least while we’re here on Earth. God isn’t a genie, there to grant my heart’s desire in exchange for obedience. Yet I still sometimes find myself worshipping this idea of God, resenting Him when the things I wished for don’t turn out as planned.
God didn’t promise us happiness, but He did promise a lot of other things: salvation, grace, truth, peace, hope, the list goes on. And those things are a whole lot better than my idea of happiness, my version of God, anyway.
So, the question still remains, what am I worshipping? People, circumstances, creation, tomorrow, and my idea of God all too often get in the way of my worshipping Jesus. But that doesn’t mean I should stop redirecting my worship to the One worthy of my praise, the One who loves me because of my flaws, not despite them.
What are you worshipping? Together let’s choose to worship the Giver of those great gifts, not simply the gifts themselves.
words and photo by Kaylyn Deiter