In chapel, Dr. Busenitz was preaching through 2 Peter 3:15-18. It was a message on our purity and personal growth in light of Christ’s coming. He took a moment in his sermon to mention one simple statement that struck me: “We become what we worship.”
This was a warning to all whose object of worship is not God. In this statement, he argued that people will begin to emulate and exemplify whatever it is that you worship. He used Psalm 115 as one of the examples.
1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory
Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.
2 Why should the nations say, “Where, now, is their God?”
3 But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold, The work of man’s hands.
5 They have mouths, but they cannot speak; They have eyes, but they cannot see;
6 They have ears, but they cannot hear; They have noses, but they cannot smell;
7 They have hands, but they cannot feel; They have feet, but they cannot walk; They cannot make a sound with their throat.
8 Those who make them will become like them, Everyone who trusts in them. (Psalm 115:1-8 NAU, emphasis mine)
Of course, this is a reference to the Gentiles and unbelievers who worshipped pagan idols. The Psalmist begins to describe them as displaying the same qualities as the idols they worship. Which, in this context, shows them to be powerless before the Sovereign God just as their idols are powerless before Him.
The concept of mimicking the object of worship is quite intriguing. It is a trend observed in society today. Take a look at the world and observe anything that is idolized in culture; see how that idol has affected the morality of the individual. You will see similarities.
For example, those who have idolized the music industry have integrated its morality into their everyday life. What is popularized in radio frequencies has been popularized in the hearts of man, and they show it in their behavior.
Another example would be video games. We see this massive movement setting the nation ablaze. Not only are the images of the games burned into their minds, but the profanity and lingo of the players are of great influence. Gamers will look and talk like gamers, because they worship the same 1080p idol.
Sadly, even pornography has its own influence over its followers. Many Christians who have dabbled in pornography will tell you how it has ravaged, and raped their mind in a way that is almost irreparable. The scars still linger. And it is because those who worship pornographic material will begin to think and act like the porn industry. Pornographic idols produces pornographic living.
This discussion isn’t meant to bash on anything specific like video games or secular music. Instead, it is meant to observe the trends of society and how it proves the statement to be true. When Israel began to take on the pagan gods of the Canaanite culture, they started to look like the Canaanite culture. This is why the book of Judges is so graphic and grotesque. Canaanite culture embedded itself into the hearts of the Israelites. Since they gravitated from an exclusive relationship with God to playing the harlot with idols, they instantly emulated the immorality that came with pagan idolatry. And the same is true for America today. America’s morality and culture fits the gods that she worships.
It is almost fitting to quote the popular saying “You are what you eat.” But we can confidently say, “You are what you worship.”
The statement itself is not a bad statement. It is a true and valid principle. But the issue boils down to the object of worship. This object determines the character of the individual worshiper. Worship is not the problem; it is the object of your worship which is the issue.
One who worships Christ will be like Christ. It is not forced. It is natural and will show itself naturally.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:1-3 NAU)
Our hope that is completely fixed on Christ leads us to personal sanctification because He is the Sanctified One. If you worship Christ, you will look like Christ.
Certain things in society that we encounter may not be bad, but should not be elevated higher than the place of God in the life of a Christian. It can be said about things like money, worldly philosophies, and entertainment that they are wonderful servants but terrible masters.
Maybe ask yourself if there are certain idols in your life that have been a terrible influence on you. Maybe you are a believer but you show the qualities of a specific idol because it should not be in your life. Or, maybe you do not exemplify Christ in your life and behavior because you are not a true worshiper of Christ. Christ followers will look like Christ.
These are heavy statements, but it does not take away their importance and need for reflection. The principle remains true: you become who/what you worship.
Look at others; look at yourself.