Are you good at deflecting man’s praise to God alone? I’m amazed seeing today’s celebrity culture. And it has even spilled over into the Church. I think it’s good to have role models, to have examples that inspire, and people we admire—but a lot of what I’m seeing today looks more like worship.
I think the show “American Idol” is appropriately named. Idolatry is in the air we breathe.
If anyone had the opportunity to soak up some major adoration and praise, even worship, it was the Apostle Paul. God was using him in such a powerful way that the Lord “bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done . . .”
In Lystra, the crowds decided that Paul and Barnabus must be gods, so they got in a worship frenzy (Acts 14:8–18).
Have you ever seen one of those? A worship frenzy?
I’ve seen people get wild in crowds when they get near a political leader they admire, their favorite sports hero, or a band at a concert. Or what about the worship frenzy that happens on Black Friday? Or at the opening of a long awaited movie?
Society doesn’t lack for worship . . . we’re just caught up in a worship frenzy for the wrong things.
Paul (thankfully) didn’t absorb the praise and adoration poured out on him and he took a strong proactive approach. In fact, he got a little radical. Barnabus and Paul literally tore their clothes and rushed into the crowd yelling out truth. Wow. They took this worship thing pretty seriously. They were going to make sure people understood what was wrong with adoring them and then point their “fans” to the only One they should actually be worshiping.
Paul was countering their idolatry with a proper perspective on worship. He was deflecting their praise to God alone.
I love his first question: “Why are you doing these things?” (v. 15)
Paul challenges their celebrity hunger by first calling them to evaluate their motives and then he states some flat-out truth: We’re just men—same as you. He then deflects their praise to God alone and takes that as an opportunity to give them the good news of the gospel.
My question for us to consider today is:
Am I doing that?
Are you doing that?
Do you hunger to get people’s attention? Are you caught up in the race to get twitter followers, more friends on your facebook page, more likes and comments? Are we using social media to promote the gospel or are we actually using it to promote ourselves?
Do you take every opportunity to counter the celebrity mindset by pointing people to the good news about the One who alone deserves our worship? Do you deflect the praise you’re given, to the only One deserving of praise? Are you reminding yourself that what we can get caught up in, go into a frenzy or lose sleep over, spend money on, or get in a huff about . . . is all temporary?
I long for the day when our worship frenzy is holy and pure and entirely directed to God alone.
We can easily get caught up in worship of the “creature rather than the Creator.” We all can do that. But today, let’s challenge the culture’s celebrity mindset by pointing out Who alone deserves all worship and praise.