By John Martin

Let’s play a game (for you Friends’ fans out there you will recognize this game from the episode entitled, “The One with Joey’s Big Break”). I am going to ask a series of questions and I want you to answer them as quickly as you can. Don’t think about it, just give the answer that first comes to mind:

  • What color is the sky?
  • Do you like cats or dogs?
  • What color is the sun?
  • What is your favorite television show?
  • What is your name?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • Who is most important to you?

Now, pause and repeat your answer to the last question. Who is most important to you? Did you say the name of your spouse? Maybe your answer was, “my children”. Perhaps you said the name of your best friend. But the question is important and the idea behind the “game” is that by answering random questions quickly without thinking about the answer will reveal the truth of what lies within your heart. And if your answer to the question, “Who is most important to you?” was anything other than Jesus Christ or God, then you may want to consider if you are worshiping god or if you are worshiping God.

The title Worshiping god (little “g”) is not a typo. Because the truth is that many of us think we are worshiping God (big “G”) when in reality we are worshiping god (little “g”) because our answer to the question, “Who is most important to you?” is not God but someone or something else.

If you have followed our teachings for any length of time, then you should have discovered that worship is so much more than music. Worship is loving and honoring God every day. It is not something we do only at church on Sunday, but we love and honor him when we are stuck in traffic during Monday morning’s rush hour commute. We love and honor God at the Tuesday night PTA meeting and at the Wednesday afternoon dental appointment. We love and honor God when the car overheats and leaves us stranded on the side of the road with no cell phone signal on Thursday and when we are celebrating with our family over dinner at our favorite restaurant on Friday night. And for some of us, this one is important, we love and honor God when our favorite college football team is down by three touchdowns in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s big game. Worship is not a life event; it is a lifestyle and we worship what is most important to us.

Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”. Read his reply:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

The first commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. And that my friend is true worship. Loving and honoring God every day in every circumstance. It is so much more than simply saying, “I love you Lord”. The commandment is not that we say we love God, but that we love him with all our hearts, soul, and mind. How do we do that?

When we love God with all our heart it means that we make him our greatest treasure and that we value our relationship with him over everything else. Matthew 6:21 teaches, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (ESV). Many times, we think about this verse incorrectly and I have often heard it misquoted. Many people think that the Bible says, “where a person’s heart is, there will their treasure be also”; but that’s not what God said at all. It is the opposite! The treasure does not follow our heart; but rather, our heart follows our treasure—whether it be God, a career, a family, or a large accumulation of wealth in the bank. If we genuinely want to love God, then we must treasure him! We value him above all else. Again, what was your answer to the question, “Who Is most important to you?” Whatever you answered is who or what you are worshiping because it is what you truly treasure. Are you treasuring God (big “G”) or god (little “g”)?

What does it mean to love God with my soul? The Meriam-Webster Dictionary defines soul as:

  1. the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life
  2. the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe
  3. a person’s total self

To love God with our soul simply means that we love God with all that we are. Our will (attitudes and intentions), our emotions, our thoughts and feelings, and our bodies. Every fiber of our existence is focused on loving God! Psalm 103:1, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! (ESV – emphasis is mine) IF we are to worship GOD and not god, then we must give God all total self, holding nothing back. With all that is within us we must bless God!

Then we are instructed to love God with our mind. Whoever said that following God meant that we were to become non-thinking, non-reasoning zombies? On the contrary, God wants us to think and reason. He wants us to love him with our reason and intellect! Loving God with our mind means that we study the bible, we think about what it says and we engage in meaningful conversations (with God and with other Believers) that help us to grow in our faith and knowledge of who God is.

To sum all this up please allow me to say that when it comes to loving God we are to love him with our heart (he is our treasure and we value him above all), we love him with our hands (he guides our tasks and all that we do) and we love him with our heads (he is in our thoughts and we long to learn more about him). This is true worship!

Reality is that someone or something in your life is valued above everything else. It is your treasure. Is your treasure God or god? Whatever our treasure is will guide all we do, and our everyday tasks will reflect that. What is your reaction in that Monday morning traffic jam? What are you yelling at the television set during those Saturday football games? What was your response during the last sermon your pastor preached? Do your tasks reflect that you are a worshiper of God or god? What are you thinking right now? What do you spend the most of your time reflecting and meditating on? Are you thinking about God or god?

Whatever your answer was to the question, “Who is most important to you?” I pray that you understand this is not a game and you will open your heart to authentic worship of the One True God!