An Epiphany–Ten Days Early

On Monday I wrote about getting past our overblown holiday expectations by remembering to spend time with God. I wrote that message primarily for myself. I wasn’t struggling with the expectations so much, it was the time with God I’d been neglecting. So I analyzed the time I spend with God. Yikes.

Imagine how my husband would feel if all he got from me was a couple of self-centered conversations and an hour on Sunday. Some of the rest of the time I’d be taking up space in his vicinity, but not interacting with him. There’s almost zero intimacy in this scenario. Yuck.

So, I wondered yesterday. Why don’t I spend more time with God? And then came my epiphany. It’s because no one else knows about my time with God. And if no one sees it, I don’t get “credit” from my fellow believers. I care far too much about being admired. I want people to say, “what a good Christian. And hey, she’s smart and pretty, too.” C.S. Lewis said the great sin is pride and at least for me, it’s true.

In the Old Testament people prayed with arms raised to heaven. They fasted in sackcloth and ashes. They wanted people to know that they were worshiping God. But in Matthew 6, Jesus told us to cut it out.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

So there’s the upshot. Whose praise do I want more? Man’s or God’s? I know the right answer. Now I’m going to try to live it in 2012 (or sooner!). I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I do have a word for the New Year. It’s WORSHIP. And it’s just between me and God.

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