“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” Exodus 20:4 (NIV)
In my opening days as Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, I shared my “7 Hopes.” You might want to go back and read those.
My first hope is . . .
Jesus will be exalted.
If we can agree on anything, we should be able to agree that Jesus should be exalted. Jesus is the Head of the Church. If He is the Head of the Church, then He is the Head of the LBC. I look forward to times of gathering when we will together exalt Jesus.
Exalting Jesus is the goal of every Christian and every church. This is both an individual priority and a corporate priority. The purity of worship begins with me.
Some years ago, I was in Dallas on a Sunday. I thought it was a good opportunity to go to Stonebriar Community Church, otherwise known as the church where Chuck Swindoll preaches. I had heard him on the radio and read many of his books. Now, I was going to see him live. Soon after the service began, someone came out on the platform and said, “For all of those who came today to see Chuck Swindoll—he’s not here!” Most everyone heard the humor in the announcement and laughed. I did not laugh, because that is why I had gone. I looked at my watch and thought maybe I had time to drive across town to hear another preacher. Too embarrassed to leave so soon after the announcement, I decided to stay. I can’t tell you exactly what the guest preacher said that morning, but I heard a message that morning. I heard from God that morning on the purpose of attending the worship gathering. Why had I come—to hear a man or to worship God?
If we are not careful, we will wind up worshipping “worship” instead of God. That is, we will worship “the things of worship” instead of God. We might worship the leaders of worship. We might worship the style of worship. We might even worship our contribution to the worship gathering. We cannot allow the particulars of worship to stand in our way of worshipping God. The second commandment bids us to make no idols “in the form of anything.” Ask the Lord today to show you the “anything” in your life. You will be glad you did because repentance from that idol will draw you back to pure worship.
Think about these things as you prepare your heart for worship this Sunday. But, don’t wait until next Sunday to worship. Worship Him today!