Notice the question isn’t if you worship, but whom you worship. All of us worship something or someone. God created a vacuum in our souls. It’s always looking to be filled. If we don’t fill it up with God, we’ll seek to fill it up with something else, and that will be what we worship. It might be a relationship with somebody. It might be shopping or football or money or how we look, but we all worship something.
While there are thousands of objects we can worship, they all fit within only a few categories. Three of those categories are mentioned in Ephesians 2:2-3a. They are society, Satan and our sinful nature.
I like to compare the choices of whom we worship to lanes in a highway. In a three-lane highway there’s a passing lane (aka the fast lane); there’s a slow lane and a middle lane. Many people are traveling on one or more of these lanes. I don’t mean they’re literally driving down a physical road. These lanes are figurative for the ways we can go in life.
Let’s start with the fast lane. Think about what the fast lane is—it’s where people go fast. People who travel in the fast lane enjoy passing other people. For some, even if it means breaking the law and going above the speed limit, it doesn’t matter as long as they get ahead of others. People with this mentality don’t care much about the law. They don’t like following rules. You could say they’re going Satan’s way.
The question isn’t if you worship, but whom you worship. All of us worship something or someone.
Going Satan’s way doesn’t mean they’re literally bowing to the devil or worshiping him necessarily. It’s Satan’s lane because of what Satan did with Eve. He tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eve saw the tree of good and evil as a shortcut, as a way to get what she wanted in life quicker. She saw it as a way to get ahead, so she took the fruit and ate it, and it got her kicked out of the Garden. That’s not where she wanted to land. That wasn’t her intention, but that lane in life took her to that destination. She chose Satan’s way. She chose to break the law to try to get ahead.
Lots of people like to break the law of God. For some it’s trying a different religion. For others, it’s accepting parts of the Bible that they like while discarding the rest. They’re not interested in obeying the Bible. They break God’s rules and form their own idea of religion. Some that travel in Satan’s lane like to cheat and lie and do whatever they have to do to get ahead. They are all law-breakers and rebels to what God has said in His Word.
In the slow lane are those people who are cruising through life. They’re just enjoying the scenery as they go along. It’s okay if they’re following behind others because, ultimately, they’re followers anyway. They’re content to cruise along and follow whoever happens to be in front of them. They’re just living in the moment.
People with this mentality in life are going society’s way. They’re following what society says is valuable. The word world in the New Testament usually means the value system of this age. Whatever the world says is important is what people in the slow lane of life grab on to. If society says it’s important to be popular, then they try to be popular. If society says it’s important to have pleasure, then they sell out to pleasure, or to money, or power, and the list goes on.
Self’s way is comparable to the middle lane on a highway. What are we supposed to do in the middle lane anyway? Ever thought about that? I mean, nobody really knows, right? The middle lane is not for those who like to go fast. It’s not particularly for those who prefer going slow. Really, I guess it could be for either one.
People that prefer the middle lane of life are most likely going self’s way. To go self’s way means to not be locked in to having to go fast or slow. People in this lane say, “I’m going to do whatever I want to do. No one’s going to tell me what I have to do. I won’t be dictated to based on where I am or what I’m doing or whom I am with.”
A classic example of a self-reliant, self-centered person in the Bible is the rich man Jesus talked about in Luke 12:
“He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”’
Notice how many “I’s” are in that parable. The rich man didn’t care what others thought. He didn’t care about other people. He was building his own little kingdom and doing his own thing. But ultimately, it didn’t take him where he really wanted to be. He thought going his own way in life would bring him ease and fulfillment, but it didn’t. He, like so many today, sold out to self’s way.
What a tragic way to go; what a dangerous thing to worship ourselves.
The three lanes we’ve looked at thus far are really on the same road going the same direction. Jesus called this road in Matthew 7:13 the “broad way,” and it will eventually lead to destruction.
Thank God there’s another way we can go! Jesus gives us the incredible option of repenting of our sins, of making a U-turn in life and going the opposite direction on what Jesus called the narrow road. The narrow road only has one lane—it’s the Savior’s lane. When we choose to worship the Savior, we choose to die to ourselves and live only for Him.
Worshiping Him alone is the only way to ultimately find the joy, peace and happiness that we all desire.
Joshua’s challenge to Israel thousands of years ago should ring in our ears today: “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods of your ancestors … and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:14-15a NIV).
By His grace, I choose to say, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15b).
So what about you? Whom will you worship?
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