Treasuring God Above All Things

Pauline   |   December 5, 2019 

The stores have had their Christmas decorations up since mid-November. Each year, the big electronics store across the street from our apartment complex blasts Christmas pop music for well over a month -- I'm still recovering from last year’s overdose of ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘All I want for Christmas is you’. The mall next door has a supersized Christmas tree with all the trimmings. I see a kid in a Santa suit cycling around. Supermarkets have aisles of decorations, a large assortment of Christmas trees and reindeer, and Santa themed accessories. Some shops haven’t taken down their Christmas decorations all year long.

Oh, and did I tell you? I live in Vietnam.

My first year here, I was surprised -- actually, pretty shocked -- to see this. Most people here do not believe in the existence of God and I did not expect to see anything remotely close to this. But the visuals of Christmas can be seen everywhere in the big city we live in!

Don’t get me wrong. I love the beautifully decorated homes welcoming the season, the glowing lights on the tree, and the aromas of cookies and other delicious goodies baked this season. I love carols and going for Christmas concerts. I love EVERYTHING about this season. But the truth is, that Christmas celebrations all around the world are cut-off from what Christmas actually is.

Christmas has become one of the biggest seasons of consumerism and empty celebration. In my life too, the Christmas season is often the busiest time of the year and in all my busyness, time with God sometimes becomes a luxury I can’t afford. I end up forgetting to worship the One who is the reason for the celebration.

I find myself asking, what would it look like for me to worship Him truly this season?

For many months, I have been thinking of what worship really means. Earlier this year, I was studying what it meant to worship God in spirit and in truth! In a transcript of an interview on the topic ‘What is worship?’ posted on Desiring God, John Piper says:

“True worship is based on a right understanding of God’s nature, and it is a right valuing of God’s worth. True worship is a valuing or a treasuring of God above all things.

I learned something in a workshop on studying the Bible that helped me look at worship in another light. We studied ‘the law of first mentions’ -- which involves exploring where a word or term was first used in the Bible and what it meant there. I was intrigued to find out that worship was first mentioned in the context of Abraham’s test in Genesis 22:1-5.

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

By this time, Abraham had walked with God and knew His nature. He knew Him to be a covenant-keeping God, the promise keeper, the One for whom nothing was too hard. He knew Him to be holy, good, merciful, faithful, and loving. The more He knew God, the more he understood His worth. And this led him to a place of submission and humility to this great God. His response was to worship Him by obeying Him even if it meant giving up his only son -- the one he had waited years for. His love for his son did not block his obedience to God. Worship to him was a costly choice but it was a choice he knew was well worth it, because he knew the worth of the One to whom it was directed.

I even saw worship in the first Christmas story. As I began preparing for my Sunday school lesson using the Christmas curriculum, I saw obedience to God in the responses of Mary and Joseph to the news that the angel brought them foretelling the birth of Jesus. This worship, through obedience to God’s word and will, was also followed by Mary’s song of praise to God.

Mary and Joseph probably had to face a lot of judgmental remarks, ridicule, and shame as they took the steps of obedience to be the earthly parents of their Maker. No one would have believed that the Holy Spirit had come on this young girl, and she was the chosen one through whom the Christ would be born. Impossible! A carpenter as father of the Messiah?? No way! These two young servants of the Most High God suffered in their obedience. They made the difficult journey to Jerusalem, and had no room even though Mary was on the verge of having the child. Their troubles didn’t just end there. They had to flee to Egypt to hide from the king who wanted to eliminate all the little boys to secure his throne. So their response in obedience wasn’t an easy one. In the light of all this, how beautiful was Mary’s response,

“Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

As God has been teaching me about the attitude and response of my heart to a deeper knowledge and understanding of Him, a deeper commitment to Him, I want this Christmas season to be one of worship and adoration of the Word who became flesh and dwelt among man. Through all the celebrations of this wonderful season, I pray that my heart will constantly seek Him and delight in Him, treasuring Him above all else and submitting to Him in complete obedience.

This is our God, The Servant King
He calls us now to follow Him
To bring our lives as a daily offering
Of worship to The Servant King

(The Servant King – Graham Kendrick)


Photo by Caley Dimmock on Unsplash

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Pauline lives with her husband and two adorable daughters and is a physiotherapist by profession. She loves dancing and being silly with her daughters when she is not stuffing her mouth with food. She loves music, board games and exploring street markets with her family.
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