Has your Christian life become consumed by something else other than God himself? Have the eyes of your heart moved, without you realising it, from God to your family, work, health or study? Or have your eyes moved to “spiritual” things like your growth in godliness, theological issues or your ministry?
If you’re like me, the answer is sadly, “Yes.”
Recently I was reading a really good book on worship. In the first chapter the author said something that struck me:
“The greater our appreciation and apprehension of the majestic God whom we say we worship, the greater will be our reverence, adoration, and service.” 1*
What he is saying here is that our reverence, adoration, and service of God is determined by our understanding of who he is.
I read this, and all of a sudden I realised that without being aware of it, the focus of my walk with the Lord had shifted. Rather than being squarely on him, it had moved to being on theological issues and my personal battle with sin. Now, learning theology and fighting sin are good and necessary things, but they are to be done with our eyes firmly on the Lord. My eyes had been on these things as ends in themselves, and so it’s not surprising then that my joy was ebbing and I was not living as reverently and selflessly in my day to day life as a Christian should.
What about you? Are you in this same position? If so, then I hope it is obvious what we need to do. We need to shift our eyes back onto God. Most particularly we need to look at Christ who is the “radiance of the glory of God” and “the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb 1:3). We need to meditate again on what the Scriptures say about the “majestic God whom we say we worship”.
Who is this God? He is all-powerful, doing whatever he pleases in heaven and on earth (Psa 135:6). His understanding is unsearchable (Isa 40:28). With a word he created the universe (Gen 1). He counts and numbers all the stars (Isa 40:26). He is high and lifted up, dwelling in the most holy place, inhabiting eternity, yet he also dwells with him who is humble and contrite and trembles at his word (Isa 57:15; 66:2). He sovereignly rules the kingdom of men (Dan 4:25). Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne (Psa 97:2). He is holy, holy, holy (Isa 6:3). He is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). He kills and he makes alive and none can be delivered out of his hand (Deut 32:39). He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin (Ex 34:6-7). He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He came not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Matt 20:28). He humbled himself dying a humiliating death on the cross (Phil 2:8). He justifies the ungodly (Rom 4:5). He gave up his son to save sinners (1 Tim 1:15). He loved sinners like us even when we did not love him (Rom 5:6-8). He disciplines all his children patiently for their good (Heb 12:7-11). He will fulfil all his purposes (Isa 46:10).
All this and we have barely began to scratch the surface of what the Scriptures say about our wonderful God. When we look at how wonderful and glorious and holy and majestic and powerful and loving and merciful and gracious he is, how can we not worship him and be inspired to serve him with all our hearts? How could we ever have turned our eyes to anything else?
May the Lord forgive us for letting our eyes shift from his majesty. May he cause us to know him more and more, so that as we set our eyes on him we will grow in reverence and adoration and excel in his service.
Matt Cole is in his third year of ministry training at PTC and attends Somerville Presbyterian Church