Summary: What is real worship? Well, let’s first consider what it isn’t...
“Beware of the Me-Monster,” says Comedian Brian Regan towards the end of his DVD called I Walked On The Moon. We are all very familiar with this Me-Monster of selfishness from encountering him throughout our lives.
I think one of the biggest areas I see the Me-Monster pop up is when I am driving or walking around and witnessing others driving. I feel like so many people are so concerned about where they need to go and they don’t even consider anyone else on the road or sidewalks. I can’t tell you how many times I have almost been hit by people flying around a turn or corner as I have been out walking my dog.
We also see this Me-Monster at the mall or supermarket as people seem completely unaware of others around them as they stop in the middle of the aisle to consult their shopping list. We see him at school as kids get pushed into lockers or walls in order to clear the path for some big shot football player or cheerleader. The Me-Monster is everywhere!
When I used to work at a hospital doing valet I used to get so frustrated at the Me-Monsters that used to show up all the time; especially with the handicap buses. We had one handicap bus pull in to drop off a patient that pulled into the driveway in just the right way that he completely blocked any other traffic from getting close to the entrance.
As I stood there in disbelief and disgust, criticizing this guy with my boss, God pointed something out to me. As we are always quick to point out the Me-Monster in the situations and people that we encounter everyday, we often forget that the Me-Monster is also in ourselves, just as much as others.
Paul understood this probably as best as anyone. Throughout the book of Romans, Paul makes reference after reference about sinning and turning our backs on God, which I think at its roots, is selfishness. Sinning against God is when we tell Him, “It’s about me right now. I’m not going to follow your Word, I’m going to do it my way. I am going to think and do what I want.” When we sin against others, we are also only thinking of ourselves and disregarding their feelings or well being.
Think of Edmund’s actions in C.S. Lewis’, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Edmund ignores the warnings of the others about the White Witch, who represents evil and Satan. He instead decides to go to the palace of The White Witch and attempt to get his brother and sisters to go with him because he wants to be King. He wants more Turkish Delight. He wants his brother Peter to be his slave. He only cares about himself.
What I would like to focus on tonight is how we can sometimes be the biggest obstacle towards worship. Rather than start off our series talking about what worship is, I wanted to tackle what it isn’t. When it comes to the issue of worship, even though this following video is exaggerated, I think it is really the foundation on how we approach worship.
***It’s All About Me Video***
Again, this is exaggerated so please don’t take it personally, but I think this kind of attitude really happens a lot more than we may think. Every church today faces this on a regular basis but it’s also a problem that has been around since this thing called church began. The letters in the Bible, written to the Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, as well as the letter that James wrote, all at one point or another, address this issue of selfishness during times of worship together as a church.
For our time here, I want to look at the letter that Paul wrote to the Roman church. Please grab your Bibles and open them to Romans 12:1-5.
***Read Romans 12:1-5***
I love the way this passage starts off because it picks up exactly where we left off last week when we talked about serving one another and serving God. Paul starts off by saying, “Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies [which this word in Greek means the whole self and can mean slave] to God [why?] because of all he has done for you.” And obviously this refers to Christ’s death and resurrection and the restored relationship that we can have with God. So we should give out of love and selflessness because of the way we have been blessed. Maybe another way to say it that you guys have probably heard before is God blesses us so that we can bless others.
So looking forward to answer our question of what worship isn’t, within this passage, I think there are three specific Me-Monsters, or selfish situations, during times of worship that Paul speaks towards.