Sunday, October 31, 2010

To Live is Christ — in adoration

When I was thirteen, I had 2500 pictures of Elvis Presley, my first and only idol. I still like to listen to his music, but have long since outgrown that obsession. Maybe they would have some value today to a collector of such things, but I’ve no idea what happened to all those pictures.

Today’s devotional verses mention idolatry. Then it was about statues and carvings. Today it is about people and places and things. No matter. Idolatry still has no place in the life of someone who wants to worship the true God. 

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalm 24:3–5)
Childhood idols stir emotions and make young people do silly things. Worship of the true God includes emotions but is more about purity, godly thinking, and living in an upright way. I doubt if Elvis ever produced that in anyone.

God produces it though. Those who worship Him in spirit and in truth, as Jesus said we should, do so because God has blessed them and given them the righteousness of His Son. Without Jesus, I cannot worship God and would not even wish to do so. He saves me from all sin, including idolatry.

God isn’t even close to the idols we humans put on pedestals. Our idols are fallible and will let us down, no matter how much we try to overlook their shortcomings. Good looks, money, fame and achievement eventually run out, but the attributes of God stay the same. He never changes.

I cannot put pictures of God on my walls though. People have tried to paint His likeness, but the best they can do are images of men. God is not like us. We are created in His image, but this image is not about appearance.

The human heart, sinful to the core, eventually reveals its true self. Our sin really does find us out. But when God chose to reveal Himself in human form, that heart never sinned, not even once. Jesus, the God-man, rejected all temptation. His utter holiness polarizes all who know of Him. He is either hated for showing us up for what we could be but are not, or loved for revealing to us that we can be like Him — if we want to say yes, lifting our souls up to Him.

Today I am glad that His offer included a blessing from His Father that enabled me to accept it. Twenty-five hundred pictures would be a very tiny homage compared to all that Jesus Christ has done for me. I joyfully worship Him.

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