I give thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;

before the gods I sing praise.

Psalm 138: 1

 

There are gods all around us. Just listen to the words that many people say. Hear the power and the self-appointed authority that propels their speech, and it is easy to appreciate the sense of deity that these people possess. In addition to public figures, we are asked to bow down to, to worship, many institutions, ideas, and pursuits. When Paul walked into the Areopagus on Mars Hill in Athens he did not encounter as many gods as we find in our modern world. We may not set up religious shrines and erect statues to depict their images, but we do seek favor from them, give our hearts and minds to their causes, and surrender our true wealth to their purposes. The rhythm of our days is often formed out of these worship practices.

 

God desires that we would live differently. He is jealous of our worship and wants it all for Himself. This is a valid form of jealousy, for the Lord will provide His people with everything that we need and does care for us completely and absolutely. More significantly, the Lord knows that this all too human drive to serve other gods distracts and diverts people away from service to the life-giving Gospel of Christ. As we enter into the lyrics of this world’s hymns we start to sound and to act just like people who do not know God. Our words become angry and bitter, and the love of Christ is pushed aside as we enter into the ebb and flow of an attack and defend mentality. None of this brings people closer to knowing Christ; so, all of this actually works against Christ’s purpose for His people in this world.

 

God holds a different perspective on the ways that people who know Him should practice our faith. Instead of holding our worship of the Lord as personal and private and our adoration of this world’s gods as public, God desires that we would live out our days as a continual song of praise to Him. The verses of this song of life can be filled with actions that are defined by grace, love, truth, and mercy. The chorus that we repeat would contain recognition and praise for all that the Lord is and does for us. This form of life-song is the most effective way to speak Christ into our world, and it is the sure way to defeat the call to worship of the false gods that surround us.

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