There’s a favorite worship chorus named “He is Exalted,” which, in part, goes like this:
“He is exalted the King is exalted on high I will praise Him He is exalted forever exalted and I will praise His name”
As we were singing that chorus yesterday at church, I was reminded of a friend, who told me about his 6-year old son who was walking around one day singing, and, as 6-year olds (and their elders) are often wont to do, was butchering the lyrics in a truly entertaining way:
“He is insulted the King is insulted on high…”
We all got a good chuckle out of that story, but it opens the question: Is our worship “exalting” God, or “insulting” Him? Sometimes, it’s a fine line.
Now, I could sit here in my pharisaical robes, and tell you about how some of the churches I’ve been around in the past were so caught up in the wrong stuff that their worship was as dead as a doornail, and had to be a real insult to God. I could even discuss how certain types of churches, or how even whole denominations, routinely insult the living God with their fleshly displays of pseudo-worship. I could—but not if I’m going to follow Christ’s directions to the Pharisees in John 8:7, where He said “Whoever is without sin, you be the first one to throw a stone”.
In reality, we all have our moments of insult toward God, don’t we? There are times when, in the midst of worship, my body continues with what looks like praise toward God, while my mind has left the building, and I’m thinking about something totally disconnected from worship. Every now and then, that little bit of Pharisee that lives in most of us will rise up and start looking at other people worshiping the Lord, and grading their performances. Usually, I catch myself leaving the point and shifting my focus off of the Lord, and I’m able to shift back to where I ought to be. Still, it bothers me that I “insult” the God that I’m seeking to “exalt.”
Fortunately, my standing before the Almighty God of all creation isn’t based on performance, but on His “Amazing Grace.” God loves me and cares for me just as much when I’m face down in the spiritual mud puddle as He does when I’m on the “model super-saint” list. Although there’s a natural tendency to beat myself up for my weakness, the very fact that I notice the “insult” and am bothered by it indicates that I’m growing and going in the right direction.
Spiritual growth is a funny thing. The deeper you get, the more you can see how deep you’ve yet to go. I’ve seldom seen a spiritually mature person who really thought that they were spiritually mature. In fact, spiritual maturity and spiritual immaturity have that one element in common: everyone but you can see it.
If you’re really seeking to grow in Christ, you’re going to be aware of the “insults” toward Him, and you’re going to be striving to exalt Him, rather than insulting Him. The really, truly sad thing, to me, is when people regularly “insult” God, and either don’t notice, or don’t care. They’re missing out o the Joy if their salvation, and they’re usually at a spiritual stand-still. I understand that place—I used to live there!
This day is loaded with potential. Today, you will have opportunities to hold out the name of Christ, to be His representative, either directly or indirectly. What you do with this day, however, is entirely up to you.
Will you “exalt” God today, or “insult” Him?