Worshiping at the Wrong Altar

Worship: ” (N): reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred; (V): to render religious reverence and homage to, to feel an adoring reverence or regard for”. (Dictionary.com)

Who, or What, do you worship?
Everyone ‘worships’ something or someone.
Many ‘worship’ God. Some ‘worship’ and pay homage to some one or some thing much less worthy than God.
Who, or What, do you worship?
To worship someone or something means that I give them my allegiance, my attention, my devotion.
It means I lay something down as an offering to them–my time, my money, my life.
Again, we all ‘worship’ something. What or Who do you worship?
Unfortunately in our society there are many people who are worshiping at the wrong altar, worshiping an unworthy object. You can probably come up with a list of what is ‘worshiped’ in our culture–anything that is the object of devotion, attention, and allegiance; anything that people sacrifice for, anything that people passionately serve.
What would you put on that list for our culture?
Technology, popularity, money, sex, power, acceptance, material wealth, political power…sports clubs, movie stars,
Out of that list, which one comes closest for you, personally? Are there any things on there that you ‘worship’?
Here’s the thing: I think there’s something that’s much more insidious than any of those things, and it shows up in all of them. It shows up in us.
It shows up in many, many ways: Addictions, Debt, Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Lies, Weight Issues and health problems; Sexual and relational dysfunction…
It is an object-of-our-worship that gets us all at one time or another, any time we sin; any time we put something before the One True God.
What is this ‘false god’ of our worship?
It’s me. It’s you.
It’s each of us, focusing on ‘me’, demanding our rights to have what we want, when we want it, however we want it–and to NOT be ‘judged’ in doing so.
It is the basest, most carnal form of sin: Self.
Self-ishness; Self-centeredness; Self-focus. SELF!
The Scripture says “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1:21-23)
‘Claiming to be wise, they instead became fools’…yeah, pretty much Spot-On!
Sort of sounds like our society, where all the ‘enlightened’ progressives keep pushing the envelope of ‘self’ so that there is NOTHING out-of-bounds, NO limits. This ‘enlightenment’ is nothing new–Paul saw it more than 2000 years ago, and the truth is, it’s been part of our spiritual dna since our first ancestors thumbed their noses at God and said ‘Thanks, but we’re going to do it our way.’
This ‘god of self’ leads to ‘false worship at a false altar’, and vehement opposition to anyone who tries to point it out.
And it doesn’t stop there.
With no ‘archaic limits’, this god-of-self puts the pedal to the metal of sin and goes for it…right off a cliff!
“So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.” (Romans 1:25-27)
Followed to its natural conclusion, it can lead nowhere but destruction.
A civilization bent on ‘Self’ and ‘Self-fulfillment’ above all else will ‘Self-Destruct’.
It is inevitable.
That’s part of the reason John Adams said “Our Constitution is meant for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate for any other kind”. 
He and the founders knew that IF we abandoned God and the Judeo-Christian principles our Constitution was written on, it would inevitably lead to a people who DEMAND Self-expression, Self-fulfillment, and who do so SELFISHLY.
…and that, not surprisingly, is increasingly what we see in our nation.
Again, that’s not a shock: Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents.  They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.” (Romans 1:28-32)
Let me be blunt.
If we, as a people, continue to ‘worship’ at the ‘Altar of Self’, we are destined for doom.
God, Who has actively blessed our nation, will follow the pattern He always has–the pattern He described in the Scriptures: He will remove His hand of blessing, then He will send chastisement, then, if we do not repent, He will send catastrophe.
If we turn, however, and repent–beginning with Christians and Christian churches–He may relent.
In this case, the words written in 2 Chronicles 7:14 ring true: “If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land”. 
Let us repent of our selfishness! Let turn from our wicked ways and our compromise! Let us turn back to Him in real worship and devotion and seek His face!
Maybe He will move on us and bless us.
If we refuse (as it seems we are doing), then get ready…it’s gonna get ugly!

Published by Pastor Dave Johnson

Follower of Jesus, Husband to Lori, Proud Father to 6 great kids, Co-Pastor of Kalamazoo Community Church. Long-suffering Detroit Lions fan.

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