From Rancid To Wonderful

About a year and a half ago, John MacArthur’s Grace To You radio program highlighted various ways that Christians can, and should, bring glory to God. The Lord used those lessons back then to challenge the self-focused attitudes that I’ve incorporated into my supposed worship of Him. And since that time, His Spirit has faithfully reminded me of those challenges, especially lately as my pastor has been preaching through Luke 1. As much as I hate to admit it, far too often I have the same rancid attitude that Victoria Osteen famously touted:

I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God-I mean, that’s one way to look at it-we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy.

Ahem! Mrs. Osteen and I  miss the entire point of serving God when we turn obedience into a means to self-fulfillment. Certainly, serving Him does lead to joy, but not the narcissistic happiness that she implies. If we obey Him for our own benefit, we betray a lack of concern for His glory. And that lack of concern misses the entire point of worship. Worship centers completely around Jesus Christ.

In the book of Revelation, the apostle John gives us a few glimpses of the pure worship that will happen in heaven. Let me give you one example:
11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. ~~Revelation 5:11-14 (ESV)
None of the worshipers makes any mention of self, but rather total attention gravitates to the Lamb (Jesus Christ). He is the entire reason they loudly praise Him. They don’t do it to whip up their emotions so that Christ can enjoy their happiness, although they undoubtedly feel tremendous joy. Instead, their personal joy is secondary to the glory that rightly belongs to Him.
Contrary to Victoria Osteen’s self-centered declaration (which exposed how truly unbiblical her husband’s ministry is), we worship the Lord Jesus Christ solely because He deserves our praises. I wish time today permitted me to show you some of the many Scriptures that point to Who He is and what He’s done, just to deepen your understanding of why worship must focus entirely on Him. (Our Thursday studies of Ephesians 2:1-10 should help in that regard.) But today, let me simply get you used to the idea of worship being about Him.
Colossians 1:15-20 has probably been the most influential passage in helping me understand why everything (and most particularly worship) absolutely has to revolve solely around the Lord Jesus Christ.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (ESV)

My beloved sisters in Christ, can you see how these five verses clearly establish Christ’s preeminence over His creation? Don’t you notice that He holds every molecule together? Won’t you tremble with adoration at the thought that our Creator, the sovereign King over heaven and earth, shed His precious blood to restore everything to Himself? What a magnificent God!
The Lord has used MacArthur to rouse me out of my self-centered attitude to remind me that God created me to bring pleasure to Him. May I start living with that frame of mind, knowing that He deserves all the praise. And may the joy I take in serving Him glorify Him all the more by demonstrating His incredible love and generosity.

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