Ryan is the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory, NC. He is the host of the "In The Room" podcast, and the author of 8 Hours, Or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster.  

Humble Worship Of A Holy God

A few years ago I took Ava and Ryder to a halloween festival at the local community center. Kids dressed up and played games, while parents took pictures and tried to manage the madness of a few hundred kids hopped up on more candy than any little human should consume. In truth, the costumes, candy, and games were all prelude to the real event - Jim Nesci and his cold blooded creatures. Nesci is apparently an expert on all things creepy and covered in scales. 

The show was what you’d expect. There were lizards, turtles, and least favorite, snakes. The kids and I were sitting at a safe distance, so I was feeling fine about this show, despite my disdain for reptiles - that is until Nesci’s grand finale. To end the show, Nesci pulled a canvas cover off a 9-foot-long North American alligator named, wait for it…Bubba. Bubba wasn’t chained to anything and nothing was tied around his mouth. The climax of all this crazy was Jim’s invitation to all the little kids to come sit on Bubba’s back. I was convinced this must be some kind of parenting test - like if you’re the type of parent that thinks it’s a good idea for your kid to sit on an alligators back, DCFS was waiting in the corner to take your kid. 

As I sat back watching parents plop their kids on the back of this deadly reptile, I just kept thinking, “What about Siegfried and Roy? What about the Crocodile Hunter? What about all the Sea World performers that have been hurt - or killed - by the orcas they train? What about that chimp that mauled its owner's best friend to the point of being unrecognizable?” By God’s grace, Bubba was a champ and didn’t chow down on an unsuspecting toddler. Regardless, I couldn’t stop thinking about how dangerous it is to reduce your respect for something that should be revered. 

Never is this more dangerous than in our view of God. 

None of us has a perfect perspective of just how great God is. He’s smaller in all of our minds than He is in reality. Sadly, this is fueled in our Christian culture because we’ve majored on the immanence of God to the exclusion of His infinite nature. We rightfully talk a lot about God’s love, mercy, and grace, but wrongly neglect the reality and severity of God’s holiness. The problem is, because we have so reduced the holiness of God, we simply don’t revere Him the way we should. You may not think that’s a problem, but reverence is the rationale behind worship. So here’s the big idea:

Until we see God as He is, we won’t worship Him as we ought. 

We need a fresh, Biblical vision of the holiness of God. We need to not forget that Jesus isn’t a "snuggie" we slip safely inside, but a humble Lion we live to love and serve. God can’t be boxed in and He can’t be controlled. God is greater, grander, and so much bigger than we can ever comprehend. Rather than hide from these truths because they make our heads hurt, we need to push into an ever-growing view of the holy God we’re called to worship. 

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