We Become Like What We Worship
Take a look at any Middle School or High School student and you will quickly be able to discern the things with which they are most preoccupied. It may be a particular kind of music, sports team, trend, or image they hope to convey to others. For the first time in their lives they are stretching their wings of independence and scouring the world around them in search for an identity, something to behold which gives them a sense of belonging. We are no different. We may act more confident or secure in ourselves but at the end of the day, we too are in search of significance and identity.
In his book We Become What We Worship, G. K. Beale makes the argument that, “What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or restoration.” For better or worse, kids often become like their parents and disciples like their masters. What or whom do you revere? What about our society? Consider our celebrity-crazed culture. Countless people bow at the altars of bizarre personalities they will never get to know, let alone meet.
Freedom comes when we decisively choose to replace our idols. The only worthy replacement is, of course, God himself. Not a belief that God exists, for even demons believe that (James 2:19), but rather living with God as the supreme desire of our hearts. The Apostle Paul wrote:
“…set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:1b-3.
Tim Keller comments on these verses saying: “[This] means appreciation, rejoicing, and resting in what Jesus has done for you. It entails joyful worship, a sense of God’s reality in prayer. Jesus must become more beautiful to your imagination, more attractive to your heart, than your idol. That is what will replace your counterfeit gods. If you uproot the idol and fail to “plant” the love of Christ in its place, the idol will grow back.”
God has wired us to thrive in our worship of him. This is why the first of The Ten Commandments says, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” – Exodus 20:3. God knows that when he occupies his rightful place as Supreme Being and center point of our affections, obedience and right living become natural. This doesn’t mean we will obtain perfection if we just love God enough, but rather that the activities of our lives will begin to match our deep desire to please God above all else. It has been commonly observed that we are less likely to break the other commandments if we are committed to keeping the first. Think about it. When God is worshiped above all in your life, covetousness fades to the background (Commandment Ten), adultery becomes unthinkable (Commandment Seven), and speaking the truth is automatic (Commandment Nine). I believe that when God alone becomes the most cherished person in our lives, we get glimpses of what heaven will be like. We are then free to live purely for an audience of One.
 G.K. Beale, We Become What We Worship: A biblical theology of idolatry (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008), 16.
 Keller, Counterfeit Gods, 171-172.
 John Piper echoes this thought in his definition of Christian Hedonism saying that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” – http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/we-want-you-to-be-a-christian-hedonist
 Keller, Counterfeit Gods, 165-177. This Epilogue is very helpful in understanding how we find and replace our functional saviors.