You Are What You…

Have you ever heard the expression, “You are what you eat”?  No doubt this is something maybe you have said before or heard someone else say at some point.  If you constantly eat ice cream and nothing else, and I happen to really like ice cream, your body is likely to show it soon enough.  Of course, you won’t literally become an ice cream cone, and good thing.

In a similar sense the psalmist says, “You are what you worship.”  This is a paraphrase of what we read in 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” (vv. 15-18, see also Ps. 115:4-8).

The psalmist reflects upon the fact that those who fashion idols become like them, and so do those who trust in these idols.  In America you won’t find as many idols made of silver or gold but one idol is silver and gold.  Such a person talks and thinks about money all the time.  They find it difficult to have a conversation about anything else, or at least they don’t desire to have conversations about other things.  Of course, just like the ice cream, in being made like money they don’t literally become money.  Although there is some truth to the one who worships money becoming like cold hard cash, emphasis on cold and hard.  Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24).  The fact of the matter is you cannot serve God and anything else.  He alone deserves our total and complete allegiance, no one and nothing else.

How is it true of the Christian, “You are what you worship”?  For this is the will of God, your sanctification (1 Thess. 4:3a).  We are to grow in Christlikeness.  This is God’s will for the one who has trusted in Christ rather than in idols, what they or others have fashioned (in their minds or in their hearts).  We also see this as Paul speaks to the saints (aka believers) in Rome,

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30).

God has predestined believers to be conformed to the image of His Son, to make them like the One they worship!

Ears to Hear

EarRecently I was able to go to the Ligonier National Conference in Orlando, FL.  I know, I had to suffer the warmer temps in order to hear sound biblical teaching and have access to scores of books.  While there is much I could share from this conference, and maybe overtime I will, there is something that again struck me as it did the first time I attended the conference two years ago.  Located to the right of the stage from where the speaker was were two men who alternated throughout a message or announcements doing sign language for a number of deaf people seated in the rows in front of them.  When it came time to singing without much thought I took in the beautiful sounds from this massive pipe organ and began to sing to our great God.  When I looked down to the right of the stage each person down there was also standing and likewise worshiping.  For they were signing the very words I was singing and together we were worshiping our great God as the body and bride of Christ.

I realized how I so easily take for granted the ability to hear (among other things like see and smell) as I heard the speakers throughout the weekend, but especially when I was sitting in the balcony listening to the sound of the pipe organ as well as string and brass instruments during a mini concert they had for us.  I say especially because at this time the two men who were usually standing and signing the messages or announcements for the hearing impaired were seated because they cannot sign the music made during that concert.  And while I thought about this my mind was drawn to the gospel of Mark where I have been preaching for the last several months.  In Mark 4 there are several of Jesus’ parables right in a row.  One of the common themes within these verses is on the importance of hearing (Mark 4:3, 9, 12, 15, 16, 18, 20, 23, 24, 33).  I thought specifically of v. 9 where, following the telling of the parable of the sower (or soil), we read, “And He [Jesus] said, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’”

Jesus goes on to explain to a small group of people including His disciples that they have “been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those on the outside everything is in parables” (v. 11).  The Pharisees and other religious leaders have grown in their hostility against Jesus in Mark 2 and 3 to the point that “The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against Him [Jesus], how to destroy Him” (3:6).  These men though they have ears and can hear one another talking they are the fulfillment of the prophecy from Isaiah 6 quoted in Mark 4:12, “They may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”  In explaining this one author says, “Insiders who are with Jesus will be given the understanding of the mystery [referring to the secret of the kingdom of God], and outsiders who are not with Jesus will be confirmed in their disbelief” (James Edwards, Mark, 134).  In other words those who had ears to hear, like the disciples, understood.  And those who did not have ears to hear, though they could hear something audibly, did not understand.  I thought back to my brothers and sisters in Christ seated there right of stage and was amazed by our God for I was seeing men and women who, though deaf, had ears to hear.  Thanks be to God for His great work of redemption!

Tuesday Tunes

Here is a song I have not heard for some time until just the other day.  It is called “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller and is one of the songs on the Fireproof soundtrack.  The video below includes scenes from the movie for those of you who saw it and liked it.  If you didn’t see it or didn’t like it then just take a listen.  Psalm 130:5-6 says, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”  While we wait for the Lord (found a number of times in the Psalms) we ought to serve and worship Him still.  Enjoy!

Tuesday Tunes

This weeks song is a familiar one for many, Be Thou My Vision.  There are a number of remakes out there, some better than others, but this wouldn’t fall under that category (maybe another time).  Sing along if you know it or look at the lyrics provided.  Enjoy!