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Session 18

How to know what you worship

Read: Luke 18

Throughout the Bible, we see God’s people worshipping someone or something other than God.

From the Israelites who worshipped Baal (1 Kings 18:19-39) to the Pharisees who worshipped the law and their own righteousness (Luke 18:10-14), people missed the mark when it comes to making God the object of their worship. It’s easy to read these stories and think, “I would never worship another god” or “I would never worship my own good deeds.” But Jesus proves how easy it is for us to get it wrong as well.

In Luke 18, Jesus is speaking to a crowd when a wealthy man asks how to inherit eternal life. Jesus answers by listing off a few of the commandments, and the man claims, “All these I have kept since I was a boy.” Instead of commending the man’s righteousness and celebrating his perfection, Jesus says, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The man became sad at this statement because he was wealthy.

The ruler’s problem wasn’t his money; it was his heart. He worshipped his possessions and his own good deeds. He was proud of himself for keeping the commandments, he was possessive over his money, and he expected Jesus to grant him access to eternal life based on his own achievements.

Jesus wasn’t saying we have to be broke to inherit eternal life. He is asking us to give up anything that competes for our worship. For some of us that might be a career. For others, it might be a house or car. The beautiful truth is that when we put God first He provides in every area of our lives. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, “but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” When God asks us to make changes in our lives — or to give up something completely — He promises to provide for us if we are obedient to Him.

Reflect:

  • What is most likely to compete with God for your attention and affection?
  • Take some time today to seek God and ask Him, “Am I worshipping you, or is something getting in the way?”

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12

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