Sparta Baptist Church

Advent Day 1

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If we’re going to lead our families to worship this Christmas season we need to take a look at what exactly “worship” is.  Oh, there are many definitions for the words that translate to English as “worship,” but as we approach Christmas, the most obvious and relevant one just might be the word “adore.”  

To worship something is very simply to adore it.  To “adore,” according to Webster’s, means “to cherish with unwavering affection.”  We can adore all sorts of things, both good and bad, but our worship is reserved for God alone.  Why? 

We find the answer in Exodus 20:3-5, in which the Lord says, “You shall have no other gods before me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”

God is jealous.  He’s jealous for us.  He commanded the Israelites to have no other gods before Him or to create and worship any images of things in the heavens or the earth or the seas.  Imagine.  The God who created the universe is telling His people not to worship the things He has created.  Worship Him. 

So why did they do it?  Why did they look for other gods?  Perhaps it was to have something they could see or touch and feel?  Maybe, but remember that these are the people God has led by fire and by cloud.  He parted the sea for them and fed them day and night.  They have seen His presence and His power.

So, why seek other gods? Could it be that as Israel entered Canaan and saw the gods of other nations, they simply desired to be like the people around them?  God had set them apart, but very often, they sought to fit in.  Are we much different than them?

As we look at our own lives, what forms do our idols often take?  What things do we cherish more than we cherish Christ? 

Habakkuk 2:18-19 says, “Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies?  For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.  Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance?  It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.  But the Lord is in his holy temple.”

God is jealous for us because He created us to worship Him and have fellowship with Him, but our hearts are drawn to worthless things that have no power, to things He created rather than to Him. 

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, let’s first make room for Him.  Let’s begin by searching our hearts for any idols we have set up.  Just like cleaning out cluttered closets, let’s let God show us what’s hidden in our hearts and then take out the trash.  Remember: our idols may not take a physical form, but we can worship them nonetheless.

Commit to worship Christ alone each day. During the season in which we lavish gifts on one another, let’s first lavish Him with unwavering affection.

Worship:  Pray, asking God to reveal any idols in your lives.  Ask His forgiveness for the times you have worshipped things other than Him.  Thank Him for desiring our worship, for seeking relationships with us.  Tell Him you will worship Him alone.  Sing “O Come All Ye Faithful,” Faithful,” taking in the meaning of the words “O come let us adore Him.”  Adore Him right now.  Tell Him what you love about Him.

Family Focus:  Take a moment and discuss with each other things that might be serving as idols in your lives.  Be sure to explain to young children that an idol is anything someone worships other than God, something that a person loves more than they love God.  If the idols you identify are things that are basically good, discuss ways you can offer those things to Christ as an act of worship.  For instance, a teenager might commit to playing basketball for God’s glory, rather than his own.  A young child might choose to wrap a special toy as a present to give to God then give it to someone in need.   Try to think of something each person can do as a physical sign of his/her commitment to worship Christ alone.