012. How Do I Worship God More? (Part 3): How Can I Spot When I Replace Him with Other Stuff?

25 Oct, 2013

We were created to worship God. Unfortunately we end up worshipping other things – like money, celebrities, and in my case… pancakes.

Since we were created to worship God, what happens when we don’t worship Him?  Do we not worship anything? No.  We replace it with something else. Now you might be telling yourself, that you don’t really worship anything else. But let me ask you this, “What does it take for you to enjoy life?” And I’ll tell you this right now, when we lack money, we aren’t 100% happy or at peace – are we? Show me someone who is happy and at peace when they’re broke and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t know they’re broke. Or they’re dead. Or both.

1 Titus 6 [10] For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

What other things are we not at peace without? What about a romantic relationship? …Yeah?  …Right?  That’s a big one right there.  Loneliness.  Are you fine not being in a relationship?  Does it bother you at all?

What about wanting admiration and respect from your family, teachers, co-workers friends, fans, strangers?  Do we lose peace when we don’t receive that? What I’ve described just now are some of the biggest things we worship. Money, other people, and the greatest one of all, ourselves. Anything we absolutely need for our happiness and peace is what we worship.

We can even be 99% happy with just us and God, and whatever we fill with that last 1% is an idol. Make note that I didn’t just say, are you happy?  Because that’s not the point.  You might be happy because you have money and a good romantic relationship and are well liked. Maybe you are really happy because you’ve replaced God with other things.

Could you be happy if your money and relationships, etc. were somehow magically missing from your life, and it was replaced with being broke, living where people don’t like you, living in a shack, alone, in New Jersey? A better life, a happier life, comes when you understand who God is and what He’s done for you.  It comes from your praise and thankfulness of God. 

It comes from our worship of Him, rather than what we have or don’t have. Our unhappiness simply shows our lack of worship of God. So what do we do? We need to find out those things that upset us when we don’t have them – money, respect, relationships, and we need to turn that around into worship. Verses like Romans 8:28 (“all things work together for good”) tells us that God has a plan… And this plan is sanctification – which is a fancy word that means “make us more like Christ.”  

And to do this wonderful work he trains us. Like how any athlete suffers through practices and diet restrictions so that they’ll perform better in the game. We have to worship God for going through the very things that upset us because we know he’s sanctifying us. That’s why the Bible says,

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 5:18

This is one of the easiest commands to break.  It is one of the easiest sins to commit.  It’s so much easier to complain.

So What Do We Do Now?

1. So identify the things you complain most about, take note of it, and come up with a plan to thank God for it.  At minimum thank God that he’s growing you.

2. If you can, go further and identify which fruit of the spirit he is trying to grow in you. 3. If you can, go even further and identify how you’ll be able to minister to others better because of what you’re going through. He has a purpose and a plan to make us more like Christ and better ministers, and we can worship him for that. And I hope his plan involves pancakes because I’m about to give thanks and worship him for them.

PS 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. PS 23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, PS 23:3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. PS 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. PS 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. PS 23:6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Take time to pray: Ask God for wisdom to spot your idols, so that you can learn what makes you unhappy when you lack them, so that you can thank God for his plan which involves being without those very things. Today’s Fruit of the Spirit: Love. Today’s Quiz: Complete this verse:  The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not ______.” A. kill B. commit adultery C . want