Allow me to be a bit transparent in this one…
This can easily and subtly slip into the day-to-day life a mature disciple of Christ if we aren’t careful. Worshiping myself, a form of idolatry of which many of us may be guilty, but don’t realize it.
Yes, you can be saved, love God, not caught up in what we like to call the ‘big sins’ and still worship yourself either along with or instead of God. See, the enemy knows he isn’t going to convince you to erect a ‘golden calf’ in your home, so he cleverly manipulates us to commit idolatry in other ways.
Here is how it happened to me several years ago…
I’ve always enjoyed trying to eat well and exercising, you know – working out. I’ve enjoyed lifting weights and different forms of cardio for years. As I entered my early forties a few years ago, I was also more cognizant of my overall health. I wanted to be proactive about as many health issues as I could. I wanted my physical quality of life to remain high as long as possible. I wanted my wife to still find me attractive, and honestly, I wanted my size to be somewhat intimidating to anyone who may be looking for a ‘weak’ target.
Even though I have had a regular exercise regime off and on for years, I intensified my efforts to twice per day. I had a gym membership, so I would get up…pray and head to the gym before I went to work. We also have a gym at my office building, so I would also work out during my lunch break as well.
I was pleased to hear the compliments as my body changed more and more. Of course it was cool to have my wife notice, but it was also nice to have other people notice as my body changed. Come on now, I know you strive to be holy, but we we all like complements. Even the preacher loves it when the congregation says, “Great job!” It’s a part of being made in the image of our Heavenly Father, who loves our praise. We all love complements…but the enemy tries to leverage those complements to his advantage.
Here was my problem…some mornings I would wake up a ‘little’ later than others, and yes I would pray, but my prayer would be shorter, but my workouts would be just as long. I would work out anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour each morning.
I began to feel ‘guilty’ or uneasy if I woke and and didn’t work out, or if I missed my lunchtime workout. I think the word for that I was avoiding at the time is obsessed. This was moving beyond what was necessary for good health and into ritual…religion…self-worship. I remembered what the bible teaches…
1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)
8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
Well, I was invited one day to be a part of a flag football league, at 43 years old. Most of the other players were either in their late teens, twenties and thirties. During our first practice I hung right in there with them playing wide receiver, and I was ‘proud’ of myself. We ere out there for about an hour and a half when I felt someone kick me on the back of my ankle and heard a loud pop and I fell down. It didn’t hurt, so as I tried to get up I fell right back down.
No one kicked me. I felt the back of my ankle where my Achilles tendon was supposed to be. It snapped! It was a complete rupture that of course required surgery.
I was in a cast for two months and a boot for two more months…required physical therapy and my recovery took about a year.
Afterward I adjusted my workout regime, bought a bike for my cardio so I wouldn’t stress my injury and even though I kept working out, it was nothing like before.
But, most importantly, instead of working out, I began going out on my front porch each morning and spending quality time with God – looking at the stars and taking in the beauty of His creation. I began spending up to 30 minutes out there on the porch praying, reading His word and just fellowshipping with Him. I noticed how peaceful it was. I noticed how my morning didn’t feel complete if by chance I didn’t do it. I noticed I close it makes me feel to God and how in His presence is the fullness of joy and peace…
Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
I noticed that when I lay awake troubled about something, I couldn’t wait to get out on my porch to be ‘with God’. It is my personal alter. I absolutely love it.
It suddenly hit me….I went from getting up first thing in the morning and worshiping myself to getting up and worshiping God. Not just praying, but spending real quality time.
I still exercise, but I thank God for allowing me to ‘come to myself’ and put my priorities back in place as they were before this brief ‘midlife crisis’.
So, I encourage you to examine yourself. You may not be worshiping yourself through exercise, but if you aren’t careful your devotion to your appearance, your desires, your pleasures, your possessions, your job, your career, your home… can the enemy tricking you into worshiping yourself.
Don’t allow ‘you’ to become your own god.
You may enjoy this article too…THERE’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN GOOD HEALTH AND NARCISSISM…