The problem with idolatry is that it involves producing a substitute for the true God. Although we don’t make idols of stone and wood anymore, we are all too prone to take the biblical revelation of God, look at those attributes of God that we find distasteful, such as His sovereignty, holiness, justice, and wrath, and toss them aside. We then construct a god who is all love, grace, and mercy. In other words, we create a god who is not God. That god is an idol. But the only God we are to worship is the God who reveals Himself in sacred Scripture, and true worship focuses on the whole counsel of God, not on isolated aspects of God with which we are comfortable.
- Five Things Every Christian Needs To Grow
We need to see God as He is.
As mentioned by Dr. R.C. Sproul, we enjoy focussing on attributes of God that we like.
That's why it is so important that we need the Word of God.
The Word of God to tells us who the Author is.
In fact, according to a Barna study, by a three-to-one margin (71% to 26%), Americans are more likely to develop their own set of religious beliefs than accept a comprehensive set of beliefs taught by a church or denomination. George Barna observed a growing number of people are serving as their own "theologian-in-residence," resulting in Americans embracing an "unpredictable and contradictory body of beliefs." Leading the pack are those under age 25—82% of them have developed their own blend of beliefs rather than adopting a set offered by a church. Although born-again Christians are the least likely to adopt an "a la carte" approach, 61% say they have mixed their set of beliefs.
(Church Intelligence Report, 28 January 2009)
In another part of the same chapter of the book Five Things Every Christian Needs To Grow, Dr. R. C. Sproul outlined several practical steps to help us as we approach the Holy God in worship:
1. Prepare our hearts
We need to prepare our hearts - and that is to physically quieten down, reminding ourselves that we are approaching a Holy and just God.
Although Hebrews 4:16 reminds us that we may come boldly before the throne of God, as Dr. R.C. Sproul reminds us, this must be balanced by the fact that we are approaching a Holy God.
The incident of the sudden death of Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, as recorded in Leviticus 10:1-3 serves as a grim reminder to us that as we approach the Holy God, we need to approach Him on His terms, not our terms.
Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Moses then said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: "'Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.'" Aaron remained silent. (Lev 10:1-3 NIV)
In the very first place, we need to remind ourselves that by our own efforts, we can never approach the Holy God. The veil that separated the Holiest of Holy from the Holy Place was never torn because of our own self righteousness but through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
So, friends, we can now--without hesitation--walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The "curtain" into God's presence is his body. So let's do it--full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. (Heb 10:19-22 MSG)
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb 10:19-22 NIV)
To quote Max Lucado:
"Christ lived the life we could not live and took the punishment we could not take to offer hope we cannot resist."
Dr. R.C. Sproul also reminds us that there is a difference between coming boldly into the presence of God and coming arrogantly.
2. We need to encourage each other to come together in worship.
Again the advice given here is a very important.
We need to remind ourselves at times when we don't feel like coming to church to worship that being able to come to church is a privilege. It is a privilege to have an audience with any earthly kings of the nations, how much more it is a privilege for us to be able to come and approach the King of kings.
That's why we need the encouragement and exhortation of fellow believers.
The Christian life is never meant to be lived alone.
Hebrews 10:25 talks about that:
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:25 NIV)
Note: The image above is taken from www.heartlight.org