I can’t believe it’s time for what has become my annual Dec/Jan post, the story of how this became a “thing” for me can be found here.
Back last January, the Lord gave me the word “obedience” as my theme word for 2015. A year ago, I had no idea the way in which He would lead me to follow Him in obedience and I’d say this past year has been a reflection of the type of “long obedience” that I talked about a year ago too. The kind that may not look like some giant leap of faith, but rather small steps, one after another in the same direction…the direction of whatever brings Him the most glory.
This year was different than most. The Lord led me to my word back at the beginning of December and I didn’t even realize that’s what He was doing. One morning during my Advent reading through Ann Voscamp’s The Gift, the Lord grabbed my attention with these words…
We were made to worship – our internal circuitry wired to worship. Every moment you live, you live bowed to something. And if you don’t choose God, you’ll bow down before something else – some banal Baal. Baal isn’t the name of one particular god; it’s the name of any generic god. Elijah confronted the people about their wavering, their sinking, between the God of Abraham and the Baal of rain. And for us, too, there are other Baals that can be our sinking. The Baal of success and the Baal of Pinterest, the Baal of perfection and the Baal of affirmation.
It’s always Baals that keep us from God, the Baals of work and agenda and accomplishment that keep us from prayer. We don’t pray enough only when we are practicing idol worship.
You can see how it goes – how there at the altars the Baal worshipers danced for rain. They strove and they flailed and they kept focused on trying to get all the steps just perfectly right – and that is how you ultimately know. You know you have an idol whenever you have to perform.
You know you have Baal that needs to be cut down whenever you cut yourself down. Whenever you slash yourself, you have an idol that needs to be slashed down. Because that is what every idol ultimately wants: to make your blood run wild and dance you mad and drive you right into the unforgiving ground. Every idol wants you to be cut open for it.
But if you slow and still and wait, Advent whispers to you: there is one God who was cut open for you. He let His blood run so you can stop running.“
~ Ann Voscamp
Worship. Worship the One True & Living God.
As I started, trying to focus in on what the Lord was leading me to for this next year, I kept coming back to those pages I had snapped photos of in early December. The realization that I was worshiping a Baal – an idol…it was gut wrenching. Why waste time and energy worshiping a god who drives me into the “unforgiving ground” – when I have a relationship with the God who is my Rock, my unwavering solid place, & my firm foundation? It was clear to me that worship was to be my word for the year.
“There is no one holy like the Lord, there is no one besides You.”
– 1 Samuel 2:2
Since 1997, one of my favorite verses has been found in Psalms 73. Tonight, I was reminded just how much it is a reminder of Who alone is worthy of my worship.
“Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.”
– Psalms 73:25-26
Praying that this year, that I would fiercely fight to surrender each and every idol that has taken residence in my heart. I pray that I would recognize when I am trying to perform and see that for what it is – a sin. Praying to understand that worship, indeed, has nothing to do with the worshiper but rather the One whom is being worshiped. Hands lifted high, face low to the ground, heart in Your hands, O Lord, my God.