Monday, January 23, 2012

What Are You Becoming?

People do strange things!  In his book The Ultimate Priority, John McArthur tells the story about a New Mexico woman who was frying burritos when she noticed that the skillet burn marks left on the tortilla formed what appeared to be the image of Christ.  She immediately removed the tortilla, and after a few days carried it to her priest who reluctantly agreed the image resembled that of Jesus.  The confused priest blessed the tortilla, after which the lady carried it home, placed it on a bed of cotton so it appeared to be floating on clouds, placed a glass container around it, and opened her home to the public.  Over then next few weeks over 8,000 people passed through the house to view the "Christ of the Tortilla." Most observers agreed the image bore some resemblance to Christ, except for one reporter who said it looked a lot like former heavy-weight boxing chamion Leon Spinks (thus explains his photo to the right)!

While this example is extreme, it reminds us that everyone worships something...and some people will worship anything!  As Christians, this should come as no surprise.  In fact, that is why we were created:  to worship the God of this Universe and to have an intimate relationship with Him.  When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he placed within them a void that only He could fill.  When tempted by Satan they foolishly tried to fill the void with knowledge, which resulted in a broken relationship with God.  Unfortunately, like Adam and Eve, we often attempt to fill this void with things other than God (recreation, relationships, money, musical styles).  Without exception, these things always leave us empty and unfilled simply because they cannot fulfill God's original intent for us:  to have a relationship with Him.  In its purest form, that defines worship:  an agressive love relationship with the God of the Universe.

I have a T-shirt that carries the caption:  "JESUS IS NOT RELIGION."  Most of us try to substitute things, many of them good, in the place that only He can fill.  We have to continually remind ourselves that what Jesus desires most is that we pursue Him...passionately!  In Matthew 22, the Pharisees faced the seem dilemma when they asked Jesus, "What is the greatest commandment?" or "What is most important in our lives?"  To this Jesus responded, "to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength."  In Jesus' response to the Pharisees he reminds us nothing (rules, church attendance, morals, church policy, etc.) is more important than knowing and loving Him.

The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once stated, "A person will worship something, have no doubt about it.  We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will come out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives and our character.  Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship...for what we are worshipping we are becoming."

What are you becoming?  Have you substituted religion for a relationship?  Is the desire of your heart to know him more intimately?  Do you passionately pursue His character?  It is only when we know Him in His fulness that we experience true transformation...and it is only then that we can become what God intended us to be!

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