When we’re born, we are blessed with several functions that are wired in us that we don’t have to think about. Breathing is the first one that comes to mind. And then we don’t have to tell our hearts to beat. As we grow older, we may discover a few other involuntary practices that are a part of the human condition.
Believe it or not, one of those is worship.
We are wired to worship, because no one has to teach us how to worship, and it’s as natural to us as breathing. You may be pushing back as you read this, because your understanding of worship may not be broad enough, so go with me here. We all worship. Kids worship. Teens worship. That’s why God included the admonition of idol worship in His Big Ten.
Watch kids (of any age). What catches their eye? What captures their heart? Little kids might worship a special toy, until they start watching commercials. Then it’s the toy they don’t have yet. Teens worship their love interest, from school or in the media. Or their phones, tablets, clothes, and on and on the list goes. We never stop worshiping, no matter how old we get. It’s part of who we are as humans.
A Frenchman from the 1600’s named Blaise Pascal was a pretty sharp dude. Besides being a world class mathematician and physicist, he was also an inventor and writer. He wrote a great observation about our innate ability to worship. He said we are each created with a hole in us that only God can fill. In his words, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”
So, when we try to fill that hole with something other than God, we come up empty inside. So for sure, God’s command that we are not to worship any idols or place any other gods before Him was spoken in authority to be obeyed. Yet God also spoke His command with compassion for His children, to lead our hearts to the one place of true joy and peace.
Worship is always about the heart, and our efforts as people to fill our God sized hole with something other than Him will never satisfy, no matter how many other relationships, achievements or possessions we try as options. Which is exactly what our Enemy loves to see, and why he relentlessly tries to distract us with new and shiny and seductive.
So first, clear any junk out of your vacuum. Admit to yourself and to God it didn’t work. It didn’t satisfy beyond the moment. Then breathe deep the breath of God.
Rev. Greg Griffin is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and Forgiveness Coach in private practice in Marietta, GA. His specialty is relationship repair and rescue- helping partners, spouses, and parents and their adolescents. He’s also the author of Dungeon Times Survival Guide, and Vital Faith.