When we worship… We identify something, whether we even know it or not, as the most important thing.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
If you know anything about Harry Potter you know he didn’t have it easy. He was orphaned at a young age because his parents were murdered. He was placed into the care of his abusive Aunt and Uncle who saw him more as an inconvenience than an adopted son, and despite growing up with family, he never understood what it felt like to be loved by one. This is why in the first book, when Harry stumbles upon the “Mirror of Erised”, he is stunned by what he sees. Despite never having known his parents, when he looked into this mirror, there they were standing on each side of him, smiles on their faces. Harry was so stunned by this he went and got his friend Ron, and when Ron looked into the mirror he smiled and laughed. He said something to the effect of, “I don’t see your parents, I see myself and I’m the class Valedictorian and the captain of the sports team, and I’m on the shoulders of our classmates being celebrated and honored”. Harry and Ron were perplexed! What was this mirror? What did it show them? But when Dumbledore shows up to find Harry sitting captivated by it, he tells us. This is the “Mirror of Erised” (desire spelled backward), and it shows us the deepest desires of our hearts. Dumbledore says, “Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.” Both images the boys saw were what their hearts longed for. They believed what would complete their lives was love or success. They worshipped these things and it drove their behaviors.
This is what happens when we worship. We identify something, whether we even know it or not, as the most important thing. We believe it will satisfy us, complete us, and we even become willing to die for it. All of our choices and decisions start to revolve around whether it will help us obtain the end we believe to be so meaningful. The truth is there isn’t anything wrong with this mode of worship until the object of it becomes something that we will either fail or it will fail us. When our object of worship is temporary or fragile it leaves us insecure, constantly wondering if we are living up to its expectations, or feeling hopeless when it fails to live up to ours. This is why Romans 12:1-2 is so important.
It says our true worship is directed at God because of his mercy. When God becomes the most important thing in your life your choices and decisions start to revolve around him as the end and he is the perfect object of our worship because he is eternal and indestructible. He will always live up to our expectations, and he has forgiveness for us when we fail to live up to his. When God is the most important thing, you start to look like him, becoming holy and worthy in his sight. And probably what is more stunning than anything else in this image is that we are sustained through resurrection power. We are living sacrifices. That means we are offering ourselves to God on the altar, saying “I will die for you”, but he is making us live. We are on the altar, but not crushed by it. And through this altar, our lives are transformed into people who are truly satisfied.
So what about you? Are you satisfied? If you looked into the “Mirror of Erised”, what would you see? What are the idols that are competing for God’s spot as the most important thing? The more you can give up your life as an offering to the true God, the more you will be sustained and satisfied by his resurrection power. The more your entire life will become a spiritual act of worship.