I think I read it in Elyse Fitzpatrick’s book Idols of the Heart— at least, that’s where it first jumped out of the page and stuck like a burr in my brain. We become like the thing we worship.
Of course this is a biblical concept, taken out of Psalm 135–
The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them.
I have discovered the uncomfortable truth that I am very prone to idolatry. My heart will latch onto the most ridiculous things and decide to worship them. I can sit in judgment of Israel and their golden calf at Sinai, but in truth I am no better. I worship at the altar of comfort, of reputation, of independence, of sleep. In fact, there are few altars I have not at one time or another bowed the knee to.
But the Psalmist’s words cut deep. The longer I worship what is not God, what is not worthy, the more I become unseeing, unhearing, unaware of what is good and true and beautiful. I become shallow or selfish or prideful or entitled. I can’t see God at work because I have become like my blind idol, and part of me rails against Him for not showing up while the other part thinks it’s probably not really a big deal anyway.
If we worship what is not alive, we will not be truly alive. If we worship what has no power, we will be weak. If we worship what is selfish and empty, we will be selfish and empty.
God has created us to be creatures who worship. The heavens declare, but we bow down. We are made to reach our full potential only when we are worshiping our Maker. So often though, we content ourselves with worshiping at the feet of far lesser gods– trying to fill the void that only God can fill with money or power or a family or a good life or addictive substances or physical beauty.
Throw all the money you want into a God-sized hole and you will still have a God-sized hole. He is infinite, and we were made to worship Him.
And He is so worthy of that worship. The book of Psalms tells us over and over again of the mighty worth of the one true God. Nothing compares. Nothing can stand up in the light of His glory.
We become like what we worship.
We are not called to be like celebrities or sports heroes, like video games or like social media. We are not called to be like the rich or the powerful or to be like the mother down the street or the pastor of the huge church in the next town. We are called to be like Jesus.
Created in the image of God, we are now called to be holy as He is holy, to be changed day by day back into that image that was marred and made ugly and imperfect by the fall.
I am more and more convinced that becoming Christlike is a lot less about my actions and decisions, although of course those play a role, and a lot more about my worship. If I come face to face with the very glory of God in daily worship and adoration, how can I help but be transformed?
We look at Jesus, and we are changed. We worship Him in the beauty of holiness and He slowly but surely creates that holiness within us. And one day, when we see Him face to face, will be experience a final, glorious transformation.
If I bow my heart before anything less than Christ, I will be less than what I was created to be. But if I daily place myself before Him and worship Him, He begins in me this sweet transformation, opening me up to the good gifts He gives, opening my eyes, enabling me and strengthening me.
I am made humble in the presence of His greatness.
I am made alive in the presence of the Author of life.
I am purified by the holy fire of His Holy Spirit.
I am strengthened by the Almighty God.
I learn to serve as I worship the Son of Man, who came to serve.
I learn to love as I worship the One who laid His life down all for love.
I learn to be faithful as I gaze at the steadfast faithfulness of the unchanging, eternal Lord of all.
We become like what we worship.
Oh friend, let us worship the only One who is truly worthy of our lives. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is God– He is all that matters.
Let us become like Jesus.