How to Worship God in Vain

Audio Transcript

Here’s one of the most important, life-altering, soul-satisfying truths I have ever discovered: Our Father’s name is most hallowed in us when we are most happy in him — especially during cancer, or the loss of a husband, or the flooding of our house. Our Father is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

When God adopts us into his family, and he makes the ultimate goal that he would be made much of forever — that his greatness, his beauty, his worth would be treasured above all thing — when he does that, he’s not a deranged egomaniac. He’s a loving Father because he is setting at the center of the family, the one Reality in all the universe that will satisfy ourselves forever: himself.

And he is summoning us not just to regard him as supremely valuable, but to enjoy him as supremely valuable forever. Our Father in heaven seeks the hallowing of his name because that hallowing happens through our being happy in him.

“If you find your Father ho-hum, you cannot hallow his name.”

Test yourself: If you find your heavenly Father ho-hum and really it’s the game, it’s Clemson football, or the Vikings playing this afternoon, or it’s your girlfriend or boyfriend, it’s pizza, it’s Diet Coke that excites you — if you find that your Father is ho-hum, and these other things actually excite you, you cannot hallow his name. You can say things. You can go to worship services. You can raise your hands, but you cannot hallow his name because your heart is in another place. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Our Father seeks our praise because the essence of praising is prizing. Our Father seeks our praise because the very heart of praise is finding pleasure in his supreme value. And if that is missing, praise is empty. The ultimate aim of your adoption into God’s family through Christ is his glory through your gladness in him. The ultimate aim of your adoption into God’s “no ordinary family” is that you would bring glory to your “no ordinary Father” through being glad in him more than you’re glad in your life or anything in it.

Come what may because that gladness is the only soul-satisfying gladness in the world that lasts forever and is full. If you lose everything — “Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill; God’s truth,” — God’s value, God’s beauty, God’s worth — “abideth still. His kingdom is forever.”

God is still God. He’s still my Father. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:29–30). If I die, I die. If I live, I live. But God never changes. His value never changes. His worth and beauty and all-satisfying centrality never change. Live or die, I’m satisfied. That’s what it means to be a Christian: to hallow his name above all things.

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