Yesterday I shared an experience that I had with God several years ago. That experience began a series of experiences that have developed my relationship with God. Religion seeks to remedy man’s external problems, but Christianity seeks to change one’s internal problem—we were made to worship God and in our fallen nature we cannot do what we were made to do.
All of creation glorifies God. Psalm 19 begins with these words,
“The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge…” (ESV)
“God made man to reflect His glory; but unfortunately, man does not. The flowers are still as beautiful as God meant them to be. The sun still shines yonder with spacious firmament on high. Evening shadows fall and the moon takes us the wonders and tells us whether the hand that made us is divine. Bees still gather their honey from flower to flower, and birds sing a thousands songs and the seraphim still chant ‘holy, holy, holy,’ before the throne of God. Yet man alone sulks in his cave. Man, made more like God than any creature, has become less like God than any creature.”
Does that sadden you? I am grieved by the thought that a bee or a bird might bring more glory to God than I do. We have been created in His image—“Redemption is to restore us back to God again…” Our chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, but we cannot mistakenly push the forever into the future—we’ve been redeemed in the here and now and should enjoy God accordingly.
One of the greatest mistakes we make is we forget why we are here. I love the illustration of a man who awakes from a weeklong coma. He awakes to confusion—he doesn’t remember his name, he doesn’t remember his family, he doesn’t remember his job, and he doesn’t remember what caused his coma. He lives the next few weeks or months trying to re-gain his memory—he walks with a distant memory that he can’t bring to light and confusion as to who he is.
That’s us, we were created to worship God, and yet we walk around in our fallen state confused about our purpose. Echoes of Eden ring in our mind, but we can’t quite put a finger on it. So what do we do? In our fallen state we seek to fill the void with what I would call misplaced passions. We seek to find our purpose, we seek to define who we are, we seek to worship because something in us yearns to worship.
Why do you think hundreds of thousands of people gather week after week to watch sporting events? Why do they gather with their faces painted, singing the songs, and chanting the chants, and yelling the yells? Misplaced passion!
Why do men and women seek to identify themselves through sexuality, through possessions, or through work? Misplaced passion!
We were created to worship God and anything that brings more excitement in your life than the worship of God is misplaced passion and it is idolatry. Tozer said, “Idolatry is simply worship directed in any direction but God’s, which is the epitome of blasphemy.” We may not call it idolatry and we may not call it blasphemy, but if we get more excited about it, if we talk more about it, and if we spend more time doing it than we do God then that is exactly what it is.
Lately, I’ve found a renewed interest in being in the presence of God. Nothing else satisfies me like being in His presence. I watch Auburn play football, but I don’t spend the rest of the day watching other games—I just don’t feel the desire. I’m finding a desire to stay up later and get up earlier because I want more time with Him. I’m not perfect by any means, but I’ve been praying that God will help me understand what I need to understand to truly worship Him. I’m asking Him to help me by changing my likes and dislikes, my wants and my passions…I’ve been confessing the sin of misplaced passion and I’ve found a freedom to pray and be in His Word.
I’m not writing to say “Look at me!”, because I know the depth of my inner depravity, but I am writing to challenge you to get into the Presence of God and to learn to enjoy Him in the hear and now. Set aside time, set aside meals, set aside the television, set aside whatever you need to set aside and simply get into His presence and learn from the Holy Spirit how to be what you were created to be.