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Drawn up

February 28, 2012

Today I’ve been enjoying Matt Redman’s song “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”. It’s a wonderful song of worship, and it has elevated my mood tremendously.

How is it that a song which focuses on God could be so uplifting to me? After all, it isn’t singing my glories! A cynic might see here the equivalent of a pep talk, like the cheerleaders of a high school football team chanting “We’re number 1! We’re number 1” to a team that is in last place. An atheist such as those who’ve been in the news so much in recent years will see delusion. We Christians pretend there is a God who cares about us–or maybe we truly believe it, although for no good reason–and it makes us happy to think so. I don’t intend to respond to that. It’s been done sufficiently many times over.

A couple of reasons come to mind why worshipping the true and living God is uplifting to us. For one thing, we rejoice when thinking about our present position and our future in His glorious presence. If name-dropping can be excused here, we’re on the “team” of the God of the universe! But the benefits of being possessed by Him don’t begin in the future; there is an “already and not yet” character to our faith (faith here meaning the sum total of what we believe and all it means).

For another thing, worship itself is an uplifting experience because of what it says about us. In a day when self-worship is so rampant, it seems odd that we should be improved in ourselves when worshipping someone else! But indeed we are.

One of my all-time favorite books that touches on this is Packer and Howard’s Christianity: The True Humanism. I wrote a radio program on this book some years ago. Here are two paragraphs from it in a section on our dignity that speak to the meaning of worship for us:

Packer and Howard say that our dignity is most fully realized in worshipping God. Why is that? First, we were made to worship. “The final dignity of a thing is its glory-that is, the realizing of its built-in potential for good. . . . The true glory of all objects appears when they do what they were made to do.”

Second, the object of one’s worship reflects back on the worshipper. Those who worship things lower than themselves end up demeaning themselves (see Romans chapter 1 about this). But those who worship things higher are drawn up to reflect their object of worship. To worship God is to be drawn up to our full height, so to speak.

If this whets your appetite, the book is available on Amazon.com. In it the authors talk about freedom, hope, health, virtue, the sacred, identity among other things. These are contrasted with what secular humanism offers.

There are used copies on Amazon for a penny (plus shipping)! (Let the cynic scoff about any reflection on the book’s true value. Consider it a treasure made affordable.) And if you don’t have time for the book, my article bears the same title (on http://www.probe.org).

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