Today’s devotion: worship of the image – RELEVANT

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God is spirit, and his worshipers are to worship in the Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

There are times when I find myself in the middle of worship where I realize that I am not really worshiping God. Instead, I focus on other things – the people around me, my appearance, my sound. I allow my time with God to focus on me rather than on Him. Various thoughts come to my mind that invade my time of worship: If I get emotional when I sing a worship song, then I’m going to pretend, immature. If I get up to worship when no one is around, I’ll just be religious, trying too hard. If I stand up to worship while others worship too, I will only copy them. If I dance, I could enter the realm of the weird or the flaky. If I worship in silence, how will I know it’s real? I have too many fleeting thoughts. If I ask God to meet me, He won’t come. I have not been consistent.

I think each of these lies comes from a root of the cult of the image, of the extreme self-awareness of our culture. This puts us on a perpetual stage; it draws us in with fantasies of seeing others watching us do great things, or having headlines written about us, or having movies made about our lives – we end up experiencing what we want our legacy to be. We try, as the philosophers say, to create our own ways of life. This idol, this lie, this sin intrudes into our concepts of our own purposes, our concepts of who we are. We focus on ourselves as if God is responding to who we are. This ubiquitous lie tries to make us believe that unless others are touched or see what God is doing in us, there is no value in our lives and there is no value in worship. .

Lucky for us, there is a way out of this trap, and I think I’ve started to see how to get out of it. We can be freed from this problem and we can return to worship and prayer in invisible closets instead of the public places of our hearts (and our blogs).

As Jesus roamed the earth, he asked his disciples a question as he traveled with them on the road: Who do they say I am? According to Mark’s Gospel, they replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and still others one of the prophets. And Jesus asked them another question: But what about you, who do you say I am?

Jesus seeks our answer to who he is. By abandoning the idol of the image, we can, freed from self-awareness and egocentricity, say as Peter did: “You are the Christ” (Mark 8).

After all, we are not responsible for creating our own lifestyle or our own heritage. We can relax and feel his love. We can worship. May each of our eyes be opened, and may we truly respond, without fear and shame, to the One who transforms us, who loves us, who is our only judge. Imagination, filled with the Holy Spirit, can brilliantly set us free to worship without shame or restraint.

See also

Dig deeper:

John 8: 12-30

John 10: 9-18

John 11: 1-45

Pray:

Lord, I’m sorry for the way I’ve come before You. Get rid of my self-centeredness when I worship you. Humble me and soften my heart towards You.


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