Some truths you learn along the way:
- how little you really know when a child starts asking you questions.
- that you really are unique—just like everyone else.
- how having your first child makes you a parent and having your second makes you a referee.
- that wasn’t really lightning, it was Google Earth taking a picture.
And the truth I want to develop here —we become what we worship.
The psalmist warns Israel of the folly of idolatry by reminding them “those who make them will be like them,” (115:8). Even more to the point is the obituary the writer gives to the nation after their idolatry leads to the Assyrians conquering them and taking them away into captivity, “They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless,” (2 Kings 17:15).
Humans are born with the capacity to worship. While many choose to ignore this, it is nonetheless true that everyone centers their life around something. I suppose the default setting is to center your life around yourself. Some center their lives around a relationship and for others it’s something like career, money, status, etc. If you choose something worthless (as Israel did), you become worthless. If you choose something good, you become good. But there’s only one way to become a godly and that’s by centering your life around God. Becoming what we worship then is not a truth like “the sky is blue,” or “the ocean is deep.” While those things are true, they don’t impact our lives in any meaningful way. Becoming what we worship is transformative truth— it changes who we are and how we live.
I think this can help us to understand worship. Some people think that God wants us to worship Him because He’s an insecure deity on an ego trip. They don’t get that idea from the Bible because nothing could be further from the truth. God is worthy of our worship and if we fail to understand and act upon that, we’re the ones who end up being hurt, not God. He is worthy in much the same way that a great painting or a great book is worthy of our admiration. We can choose not to recognize it but it is our lives that will be lessened by it, not the value of the painting or the book. Worship is something we need, not God. As we give ourselves to God through worship, it is like giving yourself to a great teacher—we are shaped and molded into something much, much better than what we were.
We become what we worship.