Worship is Transforming

I can remember when my wife and I were dating. Many times when we would go out to eat, we hardly talked. We spent much of our time just looking at each other. The unspoken words said a lot about our feelings for each other. Of course the words came in time, but it was during those times of gazing that our hearts and souls began to knit together. Those times of gazing have grown into a wonderful intimate relationship.

It has been said that when a man and woman live together for a few years they begin to look like each other. Well, my wife and I don’t look like each other physically, but we do share a common purpose. Our theologies are the same, and we think alike on a number of issues. We have learned how the other would respond to certain questions and circumstances that come on a daily basis.

During a family gathering a couple of years ago my Aunt Becky organized a game for the married couples to play. The rules of the game were set up much like the old “Newlywed Game” that aired several years ago. Each partner was required to answer a number of questions the way they believed their partner would answer. Most of the questions were simple like favorite color, favorite sport. Some were a little harder. When the scores were tallied Renae (my wife) and I had answered every question right. Even the couples who had been married longer than us didn’t do as well. In fact no one did. At this one of my cousin’s husband remarked, “You guys spend too much time together.”

Man was created to worship. The question is; “What will be the object of man’s worship?” In his book “Let Us Worship”, Judson Cornwall states, “But while man is a worshiping being, he needs guidance in the choice of the object of his worship. For man, by worshiping, becomes assimilated into the moral character of the object which he worships as the standard of perfection.” Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:18, But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Cornwall goes on to share that history has proven that man becomes like the object he worships. The Scythians who overthrew Rome are a good example. Their chief gods were bloodthirsty and cruel hero-gods. They believed that one of their hero-gods killed himself after he had massacred much of the human race. Therefore, those who were not killed in battle frequently committed suicide fearing that to die a natural death would exclude them from the favor of Valhalla their god.

Another example can be found in Paul’s day in the city of Corinth. The Corinthians worshiped the goddess Venus, called Aphrodite by the Greeks. She was known as the goddess of love, but goddess of lust would best describe how she was worshiped. The most sacred people in the temple to Venus were the prostitutes who were consecrated for her worship.

The Psalmist understood the concept of becoming like the object one worships.

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; noses they have, but they do not smell; they have hands, but they do not handle; feet they have, but they do not walk; nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them. (Psalm 115:4-8)

Transformation comes as we spend time in God’s presence listening, heeding his words and worshiping his person. To quote Judson Cornwall again, “To become conformed to the image of the object worshiped must be the end desire of the worshiper.” As we spend time gazing into God’s image our character becomes conformed to his character. The more time spent in his presence the more we are transformed into his image. God predestined us to look like him. Though worship is for God and an end to itself, transformation in worship is a necessity. It would be nice if others, by noticing our character, said of us and God, “You guys spend too much time together.”