This past summer, my four year old daughter decided about once a week that she wanted to dress like me. It started one day when we were meeting some friends for a playdate. I was wearing a T-shirt and jeans with my trusty flip-flops, and she announced that she wanted to wear the very same thing…same shirt, same pants, same shoes. The very. same. thing, right down to the delicate silver necklace and double-cuffed jeans.
This was an odd turn of events. I am not overly feminine in the way I dress most of the time, and she would be happy most days to wear any of her princess dress up clothes all day long. For her to decide she wanted to dress like me, then, was a little bewildering….and I have to admit, a little flattering. Something in my mama heart was touched that my little girl wanted to be like me, even in something as trivial and fleeting as our clothes for the day. For her to do that meant that she saw something she liked and, even if for just a day, she wanted to be that way, too. She observed her mama….she admired what she saw….and then she went a step further and began to imitate me.
Human nature, as we’ve said, is prone to worship something. We’ve also said that it is God’s desire that our worship be targeted at Himself. But why does that matter to God? If he doesn’t need our worship, and it doesn’t change anything about who He is, what difference does it make to Him whether or not we are worshiping Him?
I think that my daughter’s actions – and the idea of a child wanting to be like her mama – gets at the heart of what worship is to God.
We observe a million things every day. From ads on television to people we pass in the store to music on the radio as we drive, we are bombarded with ideas and images. Some of those things will leave our minds as quickly as they entered; others, though, will stick around. We’ll begin to admire what we saw or what we heard – an outfit someone was wearing or the way someone was talking. Our minds and our hearts will begin to meditate on those things and, if we dwell on them long enough, we will begin to imitate what we have observed. We will begin to change into that image, whether by our own efforts or without our even noticing.
It’s something we see all the time. Children come home from school doing and saying things their friends have done or said. An athlete coins a phrase during an after-game press conference, and before long that phrase is part of the culture. An actress on the most popular sitcom changes her hairstyle, and women around the world begin cutting their hair the same way.
It’s human nature. We want to be better, so we affix our attention to things we think will get us there.
God cares about our worship because it reflects the state of our hearts. God wants us to worship Him because that action – that worshipful posture of our hearts, whether we are in church on Sunday morning or are singing in our cars or taking a walk through the woods – shows a willingness of our nature to be mastered by Him…that is, a desire to be like Him. It shows that there was an observation…..and that there was admiration….and that we long for imitation.
As CGG.org states, “it is one thing to admire or respect qualities in another, but admiration and respect begin to slip toward worship when imitation enters into the mix.” Worshiping God, then, shows Him that of all the things we have seen….of all the things we have observed…..of all the things we admire in this world, He alone is worth imitating.
To God – our Father – there is nothing that makes His heart soar like hearing one of His children come to Him in wholehearted surrender. There is nothing that makes Him more pleased than when His children lay themselves aside, choosing His ways instead. There is nothing that we could do to be more in line with His will for our lives than to come to Him saying, “I know who You are. I trust Your plans. Do with me what You will, and please….please….make me more like You.”
That is the heart of worship, and that is why it matters to God.
Tomorrow, as we continue in this series, we’ll look at worship and the church. Will you come back for more of this important discussion?