Dr. Sigmund Freud once stated that every human being must worship something. Most people claim to believe in God, but recent surveys indicate that now the majority of people who claim to be Christians don’t actually worship God by attending church. Matt Smethurst, managing editor of The Gospel Coalition, gives us a reason why he believes this has happened over the past sixty years or so. He concludes that many who say they are Christian simply don’t understand what Scripture tells us about God’s sovereignty and His worthiness to be worshiped. They have been led to misplace their worship.
In an article entitled What Are We Afraid Of? in this month’s issue of Tabletalk magazine, Smethurst explains that many people in this postmodern age ‘have dislodged God and replaced Him with a mirror…Our culture’s reigning authorities have shifted, with the sovereignty of science bowing to the sovereignty of the self.” Christians familiar with the Bible should recognize this reality and resist postmodernism’s siren call, just as Adam and Eve should have resisted taking Satan up on his promise to make them God.
So then, if people aren’t worshiping the God of Scripture, who or what are they worshiping? Smethurst quotes the late American novelist David Foster Wallace in a commencement address he gave at Kenyon College in 2005. “The compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of God or spiritual type thing to worship is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never feel you have enough. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. Worship power, and you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, and you will end up feeling like a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is they are unconscious. They are default settings.”
Smethurst warns that when one worships anyone or anything other than the God of Scripture, their “disordered doxology” will result in fears over poverty and aging, weakness and exposure and many other threats too numerous to list in this post. “Without God as a gravitational center, everything spins off in a thousand directions. Such is the insanity of idolatry. No wonder life feels so chaotic, so exhausting.”
The Christian who trusts his Bible as God’s Word understands that we can trust only in Him to be faithful to us. “He has never failed one of His own.” He alone is worthy of our worship.