Acts 14:8-18 tells a story of Paul and Barnabas healing a man... They met a man who was crippled in both feet, and yet, had faith to be healed. When Paul commanded this guy to get up and walk, he did. When the crowds saw this, they decided Paul and Barnabas must be gods. They began to worship and make sacrifices to them. When Paul and Barnabas realized what was going on, they freaked out. They tore their clothes and starting shouting to be heard above the crowd. They told them 'no! no! dont do this! We're just humans like all of you! We're not here to be worshiped! We're here to bring you good news - good news that you should turn from these worthless forms of worship and instead serve the living God.'
And yet, verse 18 goes on to say; 'In spite of these words, they were barely able to keep the crowds from making sacrifices to them.'
It amazes me how driven we are to worship something, anything. It doesn't matter who or what it is, we just have to be worshiping something. And the worst part about it is, when we find out Who we were truly made to worship, we go on idolizing everything else but Him. See, this crowd knew about God. Even as they were making sacrifices to Paul & Barnabas, they were being told the good news of Jesus, and of God's provision over their lives. But they didn't want to hear it. They thought they had found something better.
I dont want to be that stubborn.
I know I idolize things. I know I idolize people, I idolize myself, I idolize celebrity culture, and I idolize sex. These are some of the things I struggle with. But I continue to learn on a daily basis that I wasn't made to worship any of those things. I was made to worship God. Every single second of my life, I am praising something. I am glorifying someone. The question now is, who is it? What am I worshiping? Who am I making sacrifices to and for?
Ann Voskamp writes: 'I have to seek God beauty. Because isn't my internal circuitry wired to seek out something worthy of worship? Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. And if I dont see God, I'll bow down before something else.'
I'm beginning to understand that 'victory is not in retreat, it's in pursuit.' Running away from the things I idolize will never set me free, will never give me victory over them. Pursuing Jesus will. Seeking God in everything will.
Because if I'm being honest, I'm not all that strong. I dont have all of life together, I do bow down in worship to many, many things I shouldn't. But rather than running away, hoping these things wont catch up to me, I'm stopping where I am, and bowing down to King Jesus. It is my prayer that when I hear His Name, and hear His Word, I dont continue in my worship of counterfeit gods. And rather than waiting to hear His Word on a Sunday at Church, I'm gonna seek Him every day, every moment, of the week.
I wont always get it right, and I know there are days I'll surrender in worship to that which I shouldn't, but in every moment, with every breath, I will cry out to Him. I will beg Him to break me down, rid me of my pride, and break my heart for what breaks His.
I don't want to be an idolater. I don't want to be so stubborn that I cant see past my counterfeit gods to the One True God. I don't want to run from idols, but instead, stop where I'm at and pursue the Only One worth worshiping.
Friends, it's a battle. It's a daily struggle to seek God in everything.... It's a daily journey of turning from distractions to look at Him. But our victory is found in our pursuit. Can I encourage you today, to stop running, and start pursuing Him. Whatever battle you face, whatever you are worshiping, surrender it to Him. Cry out in your weakness and know He is Your Strength. Realize that you were created to worship, but only Him. The pursuit of Him is your victory. The pursuit of Him is where you find Grace. The pursuit of Him is where you'll find freedom.