Have you ever heard the statement, “we become like what we worship”? I know that I have said it many times and I’ll probably say it many more times. But we often either hear things or say things without fully comprehending what is being stated. So is the connection between what we worship and what become? How can the object of our worship impact who we are?
I think these are great questions to ask and a very important and practical concept to explore. To consider how certain practices shape us is often overlooked, so it would be a great benefit for the church to take times to not only make these statements, but to actually flesh them out and explain how formative the practice of worship actually is, be it for “restoration or ruin,” as G. K. Beale says.
Look at two brief ideas from Scripture:
(1) Becoming like Idols. In Psalm 115 we read,
“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.” (Psa 115:4-8)
Did you see that? Those who make idols and who trust in them “become like them.” If your gaze and vision is cast upon deaf and dumb idols, you will become spiritually deaf and dumb.
(2) Becoming like Jesus. But the flip side of this concept is that those who case their gaze upon the Lord, will become like Him. That’s why the apostle Paul wrote that “those whom [God] foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29).
It’s a pretty fascinating concept, if you really think about it. Believers become like Jesus. People who worship money will become greedy. People who worship power will be destroyed by it. It’s a fascinating circle of “reaping what you sow.”
If you would like to study more on this subject, I recommend that you read Beale’s We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry. You can also download Beale giving a sermon on the subject here.