My son has recently been given a mic through the reality talent competition called "American Idol." This type of moment does not come often and it surely does not come cheap.
One of the biggest challenges we have faced through this season is figuring out how not to become an American idol while doing "American Idol!" I mean, seriously: How can you do American idol without becoming one?
Or, to ask it another way: How can you redirect misdirected worship?
We are worshippers by nature. We were created to see beauty all around us. We appreciate beauty in people, music, wonders, gifts, abilities, art, at stadiums, in arenas, in the stillness and sweet sounds of nature, standing before the blazing glory of a sunset. We were created to be beauty-chasers, to crave the experience of awe! We so easily bore from what seems commonplace. As I watched girls stand in line to take selfies with my son, some in tears (a recent phenomenon that always makes me uneasy), it struck me. We cannot stop worshippers from worshipping. But we can redirect their gaze to the One who is truly worthy of worship.
You see, we all have a nasty track record of exchanging glory, of worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:23-24). It's wholly inappropriate and vain. We often set our sights on people to satisfy our longings. Yet if you believe God's word, it reminds us by word and example that people have been wrecked and broken by the fall. Redeemable, yes; but broken, nonetheless. It is vanity to look to people to complete your joy. It's useless to worship the creature rather than the Creator. It eventually leaves you unfulfilled. Broken relationships and divorce rates make my point.
Mere humans cannot sustain the weight of worship. We are not fit for the task of being praised. For the one being worshipped, as tempting as it is to be praised, it creates idolatrous expectations and pressure to be inhuman, beyond all else, God-like. I would never want my son destroyed by the crushing weight of this kind of pressure. The worshippers don't fare well either. They are set-up for disillusionment and disappointment. Never satisfied. Always moving on. Always searching for the next "idol" to be in awe of. At the end of the day, my son is just like you and me. You will be sorely disappointed if you expect from him what he has not been created to deliver.
Don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly believe that my son is beautiful and has beautiful gifts. I love his sweet face and the beautiful music that comes out of him. We all have been created beautiful. We all have been given beautiful gifts. We are those made in the image of God. While on the set of "American Idol," I saw and heard some of the most beautiful things coming from those made in His image. We are beautiful, yet broken. We are lovely, yet limited. We can be radiant, yet only in reflections of the One who is pure, untarnished Beauty. Only He is worthy to receive worship. Only He is able to sustain your joy in gazing at and praising His glory. Only He is beyond all else, uncreated, fit to receive awe.
We ought to appreciate beauty in itself, even in those made in His image, yet, with a knowledge that the beauty we see here can be used to point us to the One who is truly Beautiful. If you have been given a mic or a brush or a pen—whatever you’ve been given—steward your gifts wisely! Do your thing beautifully. But if you feel the idolized look in someone's eyes turn to you in worship, gently nudge their chins in the direction of the One who is truly worthy of worship. Allow the beauty He gave you to point to the beautiful glory of Christ.