You remember how in your teens or your early twenties if anybody even mentioned the name of your favorite band your brain and your soul would start firing? You would begin reciting all the knowledge you had about how they got together and what their songs meant?
Or maybe it’s your favorite movie? Or sports team?
Or how now if someone brings up that they have never seen Breaking Bad or Walking Dead or House of Cards you’ll instantly spring into action? You’ll light up and tell them the reasons they just have to watch it (and have to start from the first season)?
Why do you light up? Where did all that behind-the-scenes knowledge come from? Why can you talk so clearly about it even at 6 in the morning, when you’re dead tired? You’ve read about the band or sports team or show in your free time, posted about it on Facebook and have passion for it, because you treasure it. You enjoy it, receive great pleasure from it, identify with it, and believe in its importance/value/excellence.
And unless you’re doing that even more with the Lord, then it has, functionally, become a god to you.
Jesus described the Kingdom of God as a treasure in a field that someone found, re-buried, and then sold everything he owned to buy. He also said that anyone who didn’t leave everything he had to follow Him wasn’t worthy. And that anyone who didn’t hate his family, in comparison with their love for Him, cannot be His disciple.
Isn’t that extreme?
“Game of Thrones is the greatest show in the history of television!” “If I could go to any moment in history it would be game 6 of the 1975 World Series.” “If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have one thing with me it’d be an IPod filled with Muse songs.”
Aren’t those extreme?
We say crazy things about what we love. We use extreme language when we really care about something. The big words and bold feelings reflect the intensity in our hearts for the things we most really love.
God saves people into radical, crazy, insatiable love for and enjoyment of Him. It’s a party where He is the prize. And we can absolutely enjoy food and movies and music in this life, but because all good things are from Him. When we enjoy Mumford and Sons or the Hunger Games or the Boston Celtics apart from Him we must repent, because we’ve placed divine-intrinsic-value on something that doesn’t have it. God is the treasure. And everything else that’s good is good because He’s the treasure. When we forget about Him and delight in some created thing as its own little self, we’ve idolized it. Worshipped it. Set it up as a false and cheap god.
The word “preach” in the New Testament means essentially the same thing as “proclaim.” It’s to shout out or make clearly known something. And it’s what all of us, in our own little ways, do with the things we value. The things we treasure. It’s why we carry pictures of our kids in our wallets or wear t-shirts of our teams or “like” the Facebook pages of our favorite bands or tell people to see movies we really like.
And there’s nothing really wrong with it. If we are proclaiming God more. There’s nothing wrong with loving something if you don’t worship it. If it isn’t first in your heart. If you don’t delight in it more than Jesus. We all speak about and light up at the mention of, are passionate about, what we most treasure.
If you want to know what you worship, look at the last few months and see what you’ve most recommended to people. If you want to know what’s functioning as your god, look at what you’re most all-ready to talk about. If you want to know what you treasure, look at what you most preach.