The past two weeks we've been studying the "best worship service ever" found in Revelation 19:6-8. By eavesdropping on eternity, we're reminded of what's truly important in this life and what we won’t be celebrating in eternity.
The voices of those in the great multitude certainly help us with Value Clarification, but they also help us in this area:
2. Worship Reclamation
I purposely chose the phrase Worship Reclamation instead of Worship Inception or Worship Commencement. Inception and commencement would mean that we need to launch or initiate our worship. Reclamation (to reclaim) means that our worship is already ongoing and needs to be recovered, rehabilitated and redirected.
You don't need to learn how to worship or how to begin worshiping. By nature and hard-wiring, you ARE a worshiper. Every human being has been designed by God to worship during every minute of every day.
In a perfect world (literally), God was meant to be the constant recipient of our worship, but Romans 1:25 says that sinners now exchange worship and service of the Creator for worship and service of the creation. That's why we need our worship reclaimed - because it’s currently directed at something other than the One who is alone worthy of our worship.
Worship As An Identity
When we read Romans 1:25, I think our immediate tendency is to find practical ways to "worship and serve" God more. For example, we look for areas where we can spend less money and time on us and commit that money and time to the ministry of the local church.
I want to encourage those actions, because they're biblical, but you need to consider your worship as an identity before you think of it as an activity. You, the worshiper, are always attaching your identity - your meaning, well-being and sense of purpose - to something or someone. And where a worshiper finds his or her identity, there they'll find practical ways to worship.
Another way of saying that is this: something, or someone, is always ruling the heart of a worshiper. Since the Bible says the heart is the control center of the human being, whatever rules your heart will automatically exercise control over your desires, thoughts, words and actions.
The summary question of this Article is this: where are you finding your identity, and how is your identity shaping your worship?
Dangerous Places To Find Identity
Last week I wrote about 9 things you won't be celebrating in eternity. I think that list is helpful to review again, because if we won't be celebrating those things in eternity, we shouldn't be worshiping them today. If we don't want to worship them today, we should avoid placing our identity in those things.
Here's that list again, phrased slightly differently, and why we need to place our identity, and consequently, our worship, in God alone:
- SELF - This life is not about you. You were brought into a world that is, by definition, a celebration of the beauty and intelligence of God.
- MARRIAGE - No human being can satisfy your soul; only God can. If you place your identity in your spouse - or any other person, for that matter - you'll always be disappointed.
- KIDS - Your children are not actually your children; you gave birth to them, but they don’t belong to you. Your kids are from God, they exist through God, and the glory of their lives points to God.
- SUCCESS - God calls you to be fruitful and productive, but the moment you take on your success as an identity, you'll become a slave to a never-ending stream of potential opportunities.
- RENOWN - Again, this life is not about you. Your primary job description is to be an ambassador for and herald of the glory and renown of your Heavenly King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
- COMFORT - Comfort is not sinful, but you'll never find paradise in a fallen world. Also, the work of the gospel will often call you to uncomfortable people in uncomfortable places.
- EXCITEMENT - Go ahead and buy season tickets for your favorite football team, but if a touchdown excites you more than the life-transforming ministry of the local church, you need to re-evaluate your eternal priorities.
- LEISURE - Again, this world will never be a paradise. It's not sinful to enjoy a vacation, but remember that this life is a preparation for your final destination.
- PLEASURE - Pleasure was created by God for you, but the created pleasures of this world are meant to be a finger pointing to the ultimate pleasure - an intimate relationship with the Creator.
We need to remember again that God is the only One who exists in the universe who is worthy of our worship. Additionally, he's the only safe place to seek identity. All forms of worship and service to the creation come with life-threatening danger, but worship and service of God come with the promise of life, both now and forever more.
Would you admit with me today that it's tempting to seek identity in all the wrong places? And would you admit with me today that no matter how long you've walked with Jesus, your worship needs to be reclaimed? God gives grace to humble and will never withhold love and forgiveness from the repentant hearts of his idolatrous children.