Wednesday, April 23, 2008

God's Demand for Worship

God is madly and passionately in love with…Himself. Sit with that thought for a while. Eat it. Savor its flavor. Digest it. Allow the nutrients contained within that simple phrase to nourish your body.

I remember the first time that I encountered this theological notion. Upon completing my senior year of high school, I began reading one of the books I received for graduation: Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. In this magnificent work, Piper proclaims God’s Self-love. God is wholly consumed with a passion for His own glory.

Viewing Christianity from the lens of American culture, in which I often heard messages of God’s unconditional love for me, I found this Self-love to be rather conceited. It grated against me and began peeling back parts of my soul. It was painful—a slow, steady pain that is experienced through the stripping away of the layers of self. And as a follower of Jesus Christ, I could not tell which was more painful: the actual stripping away of self or the idea that God’s Self-love ever disturbed me in the first place.

The very definition of God suggests Supremacy. In other words, God would not be God if anything or anyone superseded or surpassed Him in any way. Any notion that existed before Him could claim Intellectual Supremacy. Any person who held more power could claim Kingship. Any perfection that existed above Him could claim Deity. Any control that existed outside of His choosing could claim Sovereignty. In all of these cases, God would not be God.

But He is God. There is nothing that supersedes or surpasses Him. There is no notion that existed prior to Him. There is no person who holds more power than Him. There is no perfection that exists above Him. There is no control that exists outside of His choosing. He is God.

For man to worship anything other than God would be idolatry of the gravest nature. In worshipping God, we declare that there is none other who is worthy “to receive glory and honor and power.” Why? For He “created all things and by [His] will they existed and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

The notion that God demands my exclusive worship no longer disturbs me; in fact, it delights me! It is the greatest proof that the God who has called me to Himself is the One, True, Living, All-Sufficient, Supreme Being who breathes Life into my soul.

If God stirs within your heart a deep desire to know, love, cherish, and trust the God of gods, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, to Whom we all will one day give an account, then at this very moment, respond to His voice and commit your life to eternally worshipping Him!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Afternoon Insights

Insight 1: Praying through Psalm 8 this afternoon, I felt the burden of verse 6. The Lord has given man "dominion over the works of your hands." I believe this extends much further and digs far deeper than taking care of the earth, though that is certainly a part of our mandate. Our very lives and the way in which we interact with the world around us--the environment in which God has placed us--must continually proclaim, "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Ps. 8:9). Man's dominion does not point to the power of humanity; it points to the greatness of God! Any other expression of dominion is an idolatrous attempt to write man's name over that which belongs to God.

Insight 2: Every action that I perform must complete the sentence, "Because I believe Christ is supremely more beautiful and infinitely more worthy than anything this world has to offer, I..." This expression is not merely theological; it is practical. It must be the driving conviction behind all that I set out to do.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My Soul Sings of its Salvation and Sanctification

Slowly sinking, sliding, spinning
Downward into deep despair,
The sin-saturated soul screams
Constricts, convulses, chokes.
Deteriorating, diminishing unto death,
It lies limp and lifeless,
Drowned in downright darkness.
Ceasing its struggle in the cesspool of sin,
Succumbed its spirit to shapeless structure.
Nature that nourishes nothing,
Death that dies undistinguished,
Sings this sad story of sordid sin.

Sovereign sees slave’s sinful state
And cutting across the constrictive curtain,
Reaches, receives, raises,
Lifts the limp and listless life
Towards triumphant Truth
Revealed! Releasing and relinquishing
Control, the creature is recreated,
Only to open the ominous
Secret: Sanctification severs ties to self!
And dying the death of all deaths,
Discovers this definitive death,
Leads to everlasting Life and Love!