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It's Not About You (2 Cor. 3:18)

By Adam Dooley | Senior Pastor of Red Bank Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee

We would never be guilty of making worship more about ourselves than God, would we? How many times have you left a worship service only to complain, “I didn’t get anything out of it today!” We make statements that are saturated with self as if worship is all about us:

• “Why can’t we sing more of the songs that I like?”

• “I don’t think the preacher should talk about this or that!”

• “I can’t believe so-and-so didn’t talk to me today!”

• “No one ever notices what I do in the church.”

Here’s the problem: Worship isn’t about getting anything; it’s about giving everything to God! The above attitudes make us idle judges of activity rather than active participants in adoration toward a holy God. Christian consumerism defines the quality of our worship by the number of ministries for people, the size and quality of our buildings, the popularity of our pastors, the style of our music and an obvious determination to make people happy. One concern emerges as primary: “What have you done for me lately?”

Unfortunately, we still fall short of making everyone happy, and God is disgusted with our obvious worship of and preoccupation with ourselves. Our efforts to be seeker-sensitive and self-sensitive have made us insensitive to the Divine Presence who is to be the focus of our worship. Or, as the apostle Paul said, we have “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).

Personal struggles, selfish ambitions, bickering among God’s people and worship wars are all indications that we desperately need to return to the heart of worship. Doing so requires recognizing who we are in light of who God is and seeking to exalt Him to His rightful place in our lives, our families and our church. Paul gives us three realities that point us to the heart of worship. First, you have to realize . . .

Our Life’s Privilege Is to Receive Christ

Notice how 2 Corinthians 3:18 begins: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.” Notice two phrases here: “with unveiled face, beholding” and then “the glory of the Lord.” Through Christ, the veil, which covers the glory of the God, is removed. How? John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” In the person of Jesus Christ, we behold the glory of God continually.

The background of this statement is found in Exodus 33, where Moses meets with the Lord on Mount Sinai after the people of Israel committed idolatry. In doing so, he saw the glory of God. Why does Paul use the imagery of an “unveiled face” beholding the Lord here in 2 Corinthians 3:18? After seeing the glory of God, Exodus 34:29-30 reveals: “It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai . . . that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.” Thus, the Bible says in Exodus 34:33, “When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.”

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