Daily Post: Paragon
Holding fast to the pedestal you have been put upon, at times feels more like what this dragon fly must be experiencing in the driving wind and rain. We all do it, because at one point or another, someone puts you on a pedestal, making you out to be a paragon of something they hold dear. Moms or Dads who are seen as the quintessential parent, are in grave danger. We all know at some point we may fail grossly before our children, running the risk of becoming a fallen hero, or cast out of the family altogether. Pastors, Professors, and Parents are often admired, if not worshiped outright. However, getting a grip on how to avoid this pitfall is more challenging than you think.
The Creator placed within each human being a fundamental propensity to worship something or someone. Some of the most popular paragons on pedestals today are: science, money, wisdom, information, ritual, power, and love. Australian Hugh Clifford Mackay, psychologist, sociologist, social researcher, writer, teacher, says, “Most of us assign the status of god to something in our lives.” The truth of the matter is: modern cultures and secular people still worship things, even if they’ve never believed in God. Mackay also says, “Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational.”
Here’s the thing; even when people refuse to worship God, they don’t stop worshiping. They simply put other “gods” in the Sovereign’s place. Read Romans 1:18-32 for God’s perspective on this matter, written by the hand of the Apostle Paul. Which brings me to things we worship in church. Hold onto your hats children, some may regard the rest of this article as treading on very thin ice. So be it.
It’s bad enough to put a local pastor up on a pedestal, seeing him (or her) as more than just a spiritual hero. If the pastor is a great communicator, highly educated, and stylish in his attire, all too often the pastor’s status is raised to superhuman levels. No one man or woman could ever live up to these standards. Pastors are human, just like the rest of the congregation in the church. When good bible believing folk quit seeing their pastor as human, Satan has acquired a foothold among them.
Some of the more popular pedestal paragons Christian people worship include: music style, worship style, Bible knowledge, missions, historical figures from the Bible, or the Bible itself as a work. Robert Kreigel wrote a great book on change (applicable to both churches and corporations alike) called Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers. This book should be mandatory reading for people on pedestals, who understand their own humanity.
Music style/worship style has long been a dividing line in the church, becoming foundational as a cause for the changes to schedules in many average to larger congregations across the land. In order to accommodate both traditional and contemporary worshipers, Sunday morning schedules are now designed to have a separate worship time for each group. In other churches there is no traditional option at all, only hymns re-arranged to a contemporary sound are sung, and the casual orientation finds people arrayed in all variations of attire. We’ve built a pedestal to the freedom of expression in contemporary worship.
I say it is time to stop worshiping Bible knowledge, or worse the Bible itself. Hang on! Here’s what I mean: rather than seeing your leather covered Bible as divine in and of itself (deserving of worship), how about viewing the written work as Divinely inspired, but written by flawed men. I personally believe the Bible is true in every way, without contradiction or error. And I believe the Bible to be the primary tool of instruction through the Holy Spirit by which we grow in faith and the knowledge of our Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. However, I choose to worship the WORD not the Bible, which according to John’s gospel…
In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God.
Clearly this statement is not about the written book we call the Bible today. WORD is John’s metaphor for Jesus. We know this from the follow on verses in context of the first.
He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
In this same way, we need to quit putting Peter, James and John, and the rest of the original apostles on a pedestal. They were men, and Scripture explains how even these men were deeply flawed and needed salvation, perhaps Peter most of all. Additionally we must quit putting Paul the Apostle of Jesus on a pedestal to be worshiped. By his own words he was “the chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:16).
We need to quit saying “I came for the music”, or “I came for the Biblical teaching”, or “Isn’t this building marvelous!” We need to quit worshiping things or humans, all of which are very temporal. The only pedestal we need is actually not a pedestal at all. What we need is a fresh and renewed vision of Jesus Christ on the throne, the Paragon of Faithfulness, Love, and Redemption. The old song says:
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free:
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Turn your eyes to heaven and see Jesus, and worship Him with the true love of a faithful follower today.
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