Worthy of Our Worship
In our study of Galatians, we have been looking at Paul’s defense of the gospel and his call to the believers in Galatia to not add anything—no rules, no laws, no additional steps—to their simple and profound faith in Jesus and in his death and resurrection.
In Galatians 4:8-20, he passionately warns them to not go back to their false gods, a religion of appeasing the gods, and to not listen to false teaching that false friends were telling them.
I was reminded of the false gods that I and many believers that I know are tempted to serve again out of laziness, frustration, or just our plain self-centeredness. Here a few of these concepts that our culture promotes as worthy of our “worship.”
We are a country that values education. But sometimes that drive to learn and grow intellectually becomes an obsession. We need to get into the best schools and certainly our children do as well. If we don’t we might lose out—not get the best job, not network well, and not feel good about ourselves. However, education for education’s sake makes for a poor god. It can puff up with head knowledge, but without the relational connection, it’s empty.
Education and wealth go hand in hand. The wealthy in our culture garner instant respect and massive power. Wealth certainly has its benefits, but it does not in and of itself produce meaning and purpose. Ironically, the people I counsel who are the most wealthy also have a tremendous amount of stress and worry. Along with this comes the realization that great wealth doesn’t produce happiness and contentment.
We are a culture that worships success, however it is defined. We write books and articles, produce documentaries, and marvel and wonder at how this person made his or her way in the world to achieve what most others have not. Accomplishing incredible and new things is admirable, but success, in the end, makes a false god and many envious “friends.”
This is another false god in our culture. We have to climb to the top, pass people up, win the game, win the argument. Social media is replete with opinions, sarcasm, and ridicule all to inform others that the person posting is smarter, wittier, and just “better than” their audience.
We want an adoring partner, and we want him or her now! And the media continues to promote an instant connection, a natural fit, a perfect match, or a “soulmate.” Many refuse to look realistically at relationships. And we refuse to believe that a major part of a loving relationship is just plain work. Great relationships are great fun and very fulfilling, but the perpetual search for the “perfect partner” makes a poor god.
These are just five of the scores of things that detract us and that we mistakenly establish as the highest good. The Apostle Paul reminds us that there is only One who can satisfy, only One that we can worship and be edified in the process—God himself. He alone is worthy of our worship. The call for me this Lenten season is to refocus my mind, emotions, and will on the One who gave me life—a life that is abundant.