I love my morning coffee. I love a beautiful sunrise and the sound my Bible makes as I turn pages. I love a warm sunny day with the sound of ocean waves crashing in the distance. I love great music and dancing like I think I could be the next contestant on any reality TV show. I love laughing with my family and friends until my cheeks hurt and belly aches. And I love deep discussions about God, life, and spiritual growth. I love working out and the endorphins that pull me out of my emotionally funky head. And I love the sound of a church congregation singing a good ol’ hymn. I love decorating my home, wearing makeup and a big floppy bun while decked out in sweats watching a chick flick. And I love good food with a nice glass of wine. But more than anything, I LOVE my big God. He has my heart, my mind, and my soul. And I love that I surrendered my life to Him long ago. He terrifies me at times in the most wonderful way but brings about an inexplicable peace, offering hope when all looks dim.
I don’t love Him the same way I love anything else in the world. But I have been known to freely offer other things a big dose of my time, attention, and affection. And my heart, at any given moment, is susceptible to being stolen by the instant gratification those other things illusively offer. There’s a slippery slope, a fine line, and at times I have dived headfirst over it and been reigned in kicking and screaming by The One jealous God (Deut 4:23).
So how do I reconcile the issue of worshipping God and not taking my love of other things to the point of idolatry? Is there a way to worship Him and keep enjoying and appreciating opportunities, gifts, and things that are a part of day-to-day life? And what does true practical worship look like in a place that is not my “home” and wants to steal my attention? And isn’t it more than a moment out of my week and instead a matter of my heart and daily awareness of God?
So how do I reconcile the issue of worshipping God and not taking my love of other things to the point of idolatry?
As I pondered these questions, I began to recall moments standing in my bathroom taming and curling the three heads of my girls’ hair while talking about disappointments, lessons learned in friendships, answered prayers, and unanswered ones too. I thought about the many times spent wiping tears off my face and theirs because forgiveness is more often lived out than simply read about. Evenings spent around our dinner table talking through highs and lows came to mind. Long hugs and snuggles on the couch after exhausting days flooded my thoughts. I reflected on my husband’s wrestling matches with girls while they squealed and screamed at the top of their lungs. All these moments adding up to an unanswered question in my head: Can worship look different than just sitting down to have a devotional with my family? Can I worship through moments pointing myself and them to God without some long prayer peppered with the “right words” while prostrate on the ground?
What I want to ingrain in my mind is the idea that worshipping my Father is a part of everything I say and do. Whether on a beach, laughing it up with my family, buying a new outfit at a store, having dinner with friends, or talking about the day that didn’t go so well at school, God is uniquely a part of all of these if I invite Him. All desires, enjoyment, freedoms, choices, and how I spend my time ultimately go back to Him. No one is as jealous for my attention and affections as He is. However, I also cannot fathom Him expecting me to isolate myself from the world and never get a little giddy over watching my kids play sports, dressing up for a fun date with my husband, or singing at the top of my lungs with my kids while we drive down the road.
All desires, enjoyment, freedoms, choices, and how I spend my time ultimately go back to Him.
Would you consider, as I did, reflecting on how you handle life on any given day? Would you think about those things you love? If those were removed, would you be okay? Consider what you find yourself talking about and wanting. Do you find yourself including Him in your life in big and small ways? Does He ultimately have your heart, mind, and soul?
As I have asked myself those same questions, the reality that living in the world and simultaneously loving Him more is sometimes difficult. But I absolutely believe He granted us with opportunities to enjoy life, have fun, and worship Him all at the same time. Joe Rigney, in his book, The Things of Earth, describes this well:
“Supreme love for God orients our affections and orders our desires and integrates our loves. When we love God supremely, we are free to love creation as creation (and not as God). God’s gifts become avenues for enjoying him, beams of glory that we chase back to the source. We don’t set God and his gifts in opposition to each other, as though they are rivals. Instead, in the words of Charles Simeon, we ‘enjoy God in everything and everything in God.’”
Exodus 4:4-5 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God”
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Image Credit: lee, Creative Commons