Paul, one of the major contributors of the New Testament, sees us as God imitators and Christ followers. Each verse of Ephesians Chapter 5 carries us closer to the root of a life that imitates God. He is, in a sense, backing us into this ideal.
Paul wanted us to be a plain, clear, and powerful light into the world’s darkness. In order for that to happen, the shadows must be eliminated. The shadows twist our approach to sex, decency, and money. These twisted views have NO PLACE in our lives as Christ-followers. Paul’s answer to these pervasive sins? Let there be thankfulness instead of pornography, indecency, and greed.
Ephesians 5:3-5 (NLT) Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
The root cause of the sins identified by Paul is idolatry. They are issues of worship. When we wake up, we worship God. Our mind and language then reflects heavenly things more than earthly ones.
The Bible Presents Worship As More Practical than Mystical
Our View of Worship is a Little Weird. Worshipping and working are not different things. We have “caught” an idea from our culture that worship has its own unique place. It’s for the “prayer closet”. It’s for the cathedral or the church house. We have made worship a Holy Act, set apart from all else. When the truth is that Worship is the Act that Makes any (and possibly all) aspects of life Holy.
In the same way that we make Sunday “holy” by our worship, we make Monday unclean by our lack of it. If we make worship a priority, we will have clarity and victory.
Worship Gave Asaph Clarity. Asaph was one of David’s appointed Seers. He wrote and prophesied through Psalms. He established a Legacy of Warrior Worshippers. How cool is that?
Psalms 73:16-17 (NLT) So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! 17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
Psalm 73 is for the days that you get upset at the success of the wicked. It begins with Asaph confused and angry that wicked people seem so happy. It’s for those, “That guy is a jerk and things are going well, while I suffer” days. But, worship cleared up the fog of circumstantial evidence for Asaph. Worship helped him see past the nasty now and now and into God’s Justice.
Worship Gave Jehoshaphat Victory. Jehoshaphat had a big problem. A bully problem. An army of bullies even. His problem was truly and epically large. He went to God in prayer. God sent an answer. I will fight for you. All you have to do is watch.
2 Chronicles 20:21-22 (NLT) the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord; His faithful love endures forever!” 22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.
What a weird thing! Three armies came to fight against the one army who came to watch. When you have a word from God, you show up. You worship (gratitude, eucharist). You Win!
Worship Is A Practical Step Toward God and Peace.
Worship Clears Our Vision. Worship concentrates our attention and focus upon God as the solution. It’s like an Autostereogram. You look at a seeming mess of shapes, but as you stare at them a new picture takes shape. Eventually a whale, a dolphin, or lion appears. Worship is like that. You look past your circumstances at God. You focus on Him in the discombobulated mess of what you’ve got. The more you focus on Him, the more your present begins to take shape.
1 John 2:16 (NLT) For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
Worship Cleans Our Thinking. Why did Jesus cleanse the temple, twice? And, why was He so dramatic about it? He planned it. He went in the night before and scoped it out. The next day He came back and “protested”. What do you think about that? Why? Surely He was upset that the Temple had been perverted. But also, could He have been demonstrating how important it was for another temple to be clear of distraction, corruption, and misinformation?
Worship Satisfies Our Desires
Psalms 37:4-5 (NLT) Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. 5 Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.
Worship God, not money. It’s not money that provides the things you love. We practice greed and worship money, thinking it will give us what we want. Money is just a tool. It is not security. It is not happiness.
Worship God, not Lust. It’s not sex or lust that satisfies your desire. Lust will blur your vision, even blind you. It will rob you of what it is you desperately need. Intimacy. You need to know and be known. Lust might give you relief, but not intimacy. In fact, lust will make you feel MORE ALONE. Shame is a terrible isolator, and lust is usually followed by Shame.Worship God, and Him Alone. God is everything you need. God supplies. In Him, every need is met. In Him, every desire is satisfied. Only Jesus satisfies. Practice thankfulness. There is much we could say that worship is today, but we will only consider the one thing Paul pointed out. Thankfulness. Thank you Father, thank you Spirit, thank you, Jesus. For what? What could we thank Him for Today?