When Good Things Go Bad (or, On Subtle Idolatry)

Thoughts after discussion and prayer concerning our church’s vision/mission in Youngstown.

Do you worship the God of mission, the God who has a heart for the orphans, the widows, the impoverished, the sick, the down-trodden? Do you worship the God who has a heart for you, the sinner He chose to save? Do you worship the God who, when He saved you, instilled in you a heart for His mission? Do you worship God?

Or do you worship the mission? Do you work and serve in good things with good intentions for motives other than worshiping the God of those good things? Do you worship the fuzzy feeling you get when you “do” missions? Do you worship how it makes you look? Do you forget to pray for the mission? Do you assume the mission is God’s will because it is good? Do you worship your desire for the mission and fail to check if God wants you to do the mission now?

Do you worship the God of worship, the God who was worshiped by His servants in heaven long before He spoke creation into existence? Do you worship the God who deserves more worship than we can hope to give? Do you worship the God who created you for worship, who loves to hear your praise and your songs, who wants to fellowship with you as you worship? Do you worship God?

Or do you worship the act of worshiping? Do you dwell on how it sounds, how it makes you feel, how you lift your hands or how you keep them at your side? Do you worship the kind of worship that you personally enjoy? Do you worship the churches that worship “correctly”? Do you worship the songs instead of the God who gave you the heart to sing?

Do you worship the God of modesty, the God who carefully created your body and your soul as a temple unto Himself? Do you worship the God who knows and loves your quirky personality, your least favorite characteristic? Do you worship the God who desires us to present ourselves with cleanliness and humility? Do you worship God?

Or do you worship modesty? Do you scowl at the mothers who choose to wear leggings because it was the easiest thing to wear to the grocery store? Do you scoff at the girls who wear long, unflattering dresses and relish in your sense of Christian liberty? Do you worship the idealism of modesty, obsessing over the clothes you and others wear, pushing the sweet desire of Christian modesty into an ugly monster of legalism? Do you worship your appearance rather than the God who sees past them?

P.S.: Please pray for me in these ways:

  • Let me be careful not to make idols of God’s good tasks.
  • Let me pray for God’s will in my endeavors, because even if my endeavors are good and right and biblical, they are not always of God.
  • Let me worship the God of the endeavor, not the endeavor itself.
  • Let me not forget the Cause for worship, the Initiator of missions, the Source of modesty, the God of the universe, the Savior of sinners.

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 13:20-21

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