Many years ago we were doing evangelistic work in a market in central France. There were two brothers who had a large truck, from which they sold their goods, not too far from our stand. We met them, and strangely enough, they looked very much like Elvis Presley. In our conversation with them, we learned that they thought Elvis was just the greatest, and wanted to be like him. So, they dressed like him, their hair style was like his, and they comported themselves like him. In essence, they were becoming like that which they worshipped. Now, we have already mentioned this, but it needs to be reiterated…The first of the ten commandments is, “…Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” One reason for this being the first commandment is that it reveals to us that we are all worshippers…of something, or some one. That “someone” could even be ourselves.
And, it is a fact that we become like the object which we worship. Thus, the great issue here is not whether we worship, but to see clearly who, or what, is the object of our worship. We will become like that object.
In Judges 6, we find that Gideon is visited by the “angel of the Lord.” He made this very clear, and there was no doubt. But once this is firmly, and clearly, grasped by Gideon, the Lord orders him to, “…throw down the altar of Baal that they father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it.” Baal was one of the principal deities of the Canaanites. The other deity, represented by “the grove,” was in essence a wood pillar representing the asherah, an idol depicting the goddess of nature. The fact that must be grasped here is, “…God will not be worshipped along with Baal.” And if He is to intervene to make Gideon victorious over his enemies, Christ alone must be worshipped. There will be NO gods before Him. He must be the only object of worship, for only in such worship will there ever be true service, a life upon which the blessing of God resides.
Christianity is a strange business. Instead of “trying” we are called to “trust.” Instead of trying to become what we should “be,” we are to become what we “are.” In the matter of becoming like the company we keep, trusting God to change us, becoming like Christ, is not in “striving” to be like Him, though we are called to walk “in His steps.” But then we ask, how then does this work ? How does the transformation take place? How does it come to pass? One thing is certain, God does not use old wine skins and fill them with new wine. He does not take an old garment and try to sew a new patch on it.
In other words, God’s work of transforming us in His image begins with Him, and Him alone. And it is, as we walk in obedient faith, having Christ, and not some other person or thing, as the object of our worship, that He does the work.
This morning when I took our little terrier for his early morning walk, the beauty of this spring morning was overwhelming. The trees had put forth their canopy of leaves, and the flowers were beginning to approach full bloom. With all this “transformation” of nature, I heard not a single groan, grunting, or crying out of a tree or flower…it was all very quiet, and yet, it was beautiful. The power involved in the thrusting forth of all the new growth was unimaginable. And is it not so with the Christian, or should be? In John’s gospel, chapter 15, we read that Christ is the Vine and we are the branches. We are one with Him. Are we not to receive from Him all that pertains to life and godliness, and this because He has declared that we have all in Him? Is it not, or should be, the most natural thing in the world to quietly, wholeheartedly, be absolutely dependent upon Him, receiving all by faith for every need. He directs us, even commands us, to “Abide in Me, and I will abide in you.” Is this not true Christianity, where the Christian lives in the reality of his, or her, union with Christ, and trusts Him to reveal that Life through him, as he worships this most blessed Object of faith?
I conclude with the stanza of a great hymn by James Mountain.
“Jesus! I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art:
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For, by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.”
Have a wonderful…gazing upon the living Christ today…