you become what you worship
by ANNA BYRD
Everything comes from you; all we’re doing is giving back what we’ve been given from your generous hand.1 Chronicles 29:14 (MSG)
Have you ever noticed the effect the culture and trends have on our lives? Think about it … doesn’t almost every person you know own an iPhone or smart phone of some sort? Or have you ever heard someone on TV say something clever and the next thing you know everyone’s saying it? Or what about the hairdo you once thought looked ridiculous but now you find yourself sporting it? (I have plenty of self-incriminating pictures to prove this point!) But do you ever wonder why we’re so heavily influenced by the culture around us? Well, it’s simple—whatever you’re consumed with, you’re going to reflect and amplify in your life. In other words, you become what you worship.
If you look up synonyms for worship in your thesaurus, you come across words like “revere,” “adoration” and “idolize.” I want to spend a little time focusing on that last word—idolize. When God gave Moses and the children of Israel the Ten Commandments, He started out the list by saying:
“You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.” (Exodus 20:3–6, NLT)
I usually tend to skim over those commandments, because I think to myself: I’ve got those down. I don’t worship golden images or build fake gods! But in reality, you and I are just as susceptible to setting up and worshipping idols as the children of Israel were when they built a golden calf to worship. Whenever you begin to admire people or things to the point that you place them on a throne of greater importance to you than God, that’s when you’ve let that person or thing become an idol in your life. That’s when you’ve allowed those idols to rule you.
Many times, we even get to the point where we become addicts— abandoning ourselves compulsively or obsessively by devoting our time, bodies and energy to it. Now you may think to yourself: An addict? I don’t think I’m that extreme. I’m more like a big fan. And these things really aren’t that harmful; they’re just hobbies. And you’re right. They probably aren’t harmful … unless you’re allowing yourself to be consumed by them.
So how do you know? Ask yourself these questions: “How much time do I spend flipping through magazines or googling the latest celebrity gossip? How important is it that I fit in, look the part or am successful? Do I measure my success based on the opinions of other people?” Now ask yourself this: “How much time do I spend reading the Word of God and allowing Him to speak to me? Do I respond to the things around me by first seeking God’s wisdom?” If your answers to the first set of questions outweigh your answers to the second set of questions, you’re already in a danger zone.
Now, I’m not saying you have to spend every second of every day praying. But the Bible does tell us: “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6, NKJV). To “acknowledge” literally means “to be aware of or to respond to something.” Are you aware of God when you’re grocery shopping? Are you awe-struck by Him when you see the sun rising? Do you respond to Him early in the morning even though, in all reality, you’re not a morning person? How about when you’re in the middle of gossiping about someone—are you acknowledging or aware that God is there with you? I have to ask myself these things every day, so don’t think you’re in this alone. But thankfully, God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22–23)!
The fact is in this day and age, everything around you is constantly clamoring for your undivided attention. The world is begging for some of your adoration. And it’s harder than ever to focus with all of the distractions offered every moment of every day. But all of those distractions are rooted in idolatry and self when they get you to take your eyes off of your heavenly Father and His great calling for your life and try to take your life into your own hands.
So how do we guard ourselves from creating idols and getting addicted to them? I think Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) says it best: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” First. Numero Uno. Before anything else. Seek God first!
Before you begin each day, I encourage you to seek the Lord, read His Word and listen for His voice. Make time for Him. You’ll be amazed at how much it helps you to “acknowledge” Him when He’s the very first person you start your day with. I also encourage you to allow God to show you which areas you should potentially put aside. He is the best at correcting you if you are open to Him, because He is our perfect Father. Just listen to His voice, and He’ll show you in love, with love and through love what to do.
The gods or God we worship write their names on our faces; be sure of that. And a man will worship something ... that which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.RALPH WALDO EMERSON
Father God, please forgive me if I’ve been putting anything above or before You. I don’t want to put any idols before You! Create in me a clean heart and renew a right, steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10). Show me if there are any areas I need to place on Your altar. And continuously reignite a fire within me for You! May You be my one desire (Psalm 27:4). Thank You, Jesus, that we are not of this world, but that we are in it to shine for You! Thank You for always being with me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- Ask God to show you things in your life that you spend too much time focusing on.
- Set aside those things causing you to take your eyes off Him.
- Rededicate your time to the Lord. Seek Him every day, listen for His voice and be transformed by His presence.
For Further Study
- Romans 12
- Jeremiah 2:5
- 1 Chronicles 29:10–19 (MSG)