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Joe McKeever: Worship and the Carnal Mind

carnal mind

Can we talk about worship? Especially what the carnal mind does not “get” about worship. I’d like to start each section with a fascinating quote. I can’t vouch for the integrity of any of the quotes since they were lifted from the internet. But they are good discussion starters.

Worship and the Carnal Mind

1) From actor Brad Pitt:

“I didn’t understand this idea of a God who says, ‘You have to acknowledge me. You have to say that I’m the best, and then I’ll give you eternal happiness. If you won’t, then you don’t get it!’ It seemed to be about ego. I can’t see God operating from ego, so it made no sense to me.”

There is a reason this makes no sense to you, Mr. Pitt.  The Apostle Paul put it this way: “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.  Nor can he understand them, for they are spiritually appraised” (I Corinthians 2:14).

I don’t mean to be harsh in that assessment, but understanding the carnal mind explains why so many on the outside look at Christian worship and shake their heads. They just don’t get it. Let me repeat that: They. Do. Not. Get. It.

2) From a blog in which this guy talks about religion.

Someone asked him why God wants us to worship Him.  He answered, “Everyone likes being praised. It’s a huge ego bump, after all. But why does God need it? I mean, what kind of egomaniac needs millions of people all over the world praising his name? Isn’t that a little arrogant?”

Short answer: Yes, it is.

He then proceeded to make a case for God being egotistical. The funny thing is he thought he was being supportive of God. He should spare God the compliment.

Without knowing this fellow, I’d say he’s one more person who just doesn’t get the business of Christian worship.

3) From a Catholic website

“While worshiping God changes us for the better, the primary aim of our worship is not self-improvement. In the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the liturgy used by many of the Eastern Rite Catholic churches, the priest at one point chants, “For to You is due all glory, honor, and worship, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto ages of ages.”

“While God doesn’t need our worship in order to be complete, our worship is still a duty—something that we owe to God. But it is a duty that we can perform cheerfully, knowing that, in doing so, we are participating briefly in the life of heaven.”

Okay, this is thought-provoking. But it still seems to imply that we might be “adding value” to Heaven in some way, and that God is somehow diminished a tad when we fail to worship.

4) From C. S. Lewis

I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise…. The world rings with praise—lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game…. I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: ‘Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?’ The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value. I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.
“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”

By refusing to worship God, we detract nothing from Him. By worshiping Him, we add nothing to Him.

So what is the point of worship? Ah, I’m glad you asked. Read on:

5) From our Lord Jesus

“An hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers” (John 4:23).  He adds, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.

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Joe McKeever has been a preacher for nearly 60 years, a pastor for 42 years, and a cartoonist/writer for Christian publications all his adult life. He lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi.