Does God crave recognition?

I am doing a study course on missions and yesterday in my readings I ran into this sentence: “God wants to be more than globally famous—He yearns to be truly worshiped.” I found that phrase rather troublesome. God is “yearning” to be worshiped by people of all the nations? Is God on a huge ego-trip? Is it acceptable for God to crave recognition just because He is God? Does being the Most High make vanity appropriate?

A musician would attract criticism if he produced music with the express purpose of getting applause and fame. Most would agree that he should be driven by the higher motive of love of music rather than the benefits that accrue from producing it. If he performed merely with a view to getting applause, would he not be stooping to serve his own vanity and pride? Could we conceive of God as being driven by similar motives?

The Scriptures command us to imitate our heavenly Father. If He passionately pursues the purpose of seeking His own glory, I guess we should all follow suit. Or should we? Seeking our own glory sounds a whole lot like self centered carnal ambition, and you don’t need a doctorate in theology to realize that is not something Scripture encourages us to do. If we began to crave praise and recognition would we not be falling prey to our sinful pride and personal vanity? Seeking our own glory is definitely not an appropriate motivation. To think, then, that our Father in heaven is filled with passion to be worshiped surely must be a misunderstanding.

Our concept of God needs to be
rooted in Jesus Christ.

The Son of God is the visible image of the invisible God. As we look at him we see what God is really like. And what kind of God does Jesus bring into view? We see a God who stoops to wash feet, a God who says: “I did not come to be served but to serve and to give,” a God who bleeds on a cross for sinners. Never did he seek applause or insist upon receiving recognition, although he had every right to receive it. He was all about blessing, and loving and serving. He was the epitome of humility and compassion.

The God that Christ revealed
was not yearning to receive worship;
he was yearning to serve.

The central revelation that Jesus gave us about God is that God is love. And if God is love, does that not mean that He is completely other focused? Is not love by definition self giving, self sacrificing, and self forgetful? Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that what God yearns to do is to love, bless, give of his unending abundance. And in so doing, does He not magnify the goodness and greatness of his Person? Perhaps this display of goodness and grace is what most “glorifies” him.  And is this outpouring of God’s blessing and goodness not what prompts people to become grateful admirers and worshipers of this wonderful God?

If there is a sense is which God desires to be worshiped, is it not because worship is the only reasonable response to who He is and what He has done, and the only healthy and sane attitude for His creatures? To worship anything or anyone else is absolute foolishness, it is to walk in darkness, it is to walk in death. To worship God is to be rightly related to the only fountain of life and goodness and beauty. It is to enjoy the One who is infinitely enjoyable. It is to find with joy the purpose of our existence. It is not so much that worship is something God craves (as if He needed to have His self esteem built up) but something He wants by His grace to lead us to because it is the place of joy and blessing and glory.

Perhaps it would be better to think of God as focused on carrying out his marvelous purposes of goodness rather than craving worship. It is right and proper and beneficial that He be worshipped. Good artists deserve recognition. Our Creator is worthy of all praise. But worship is generated because God has given Himself to a creative outpouring of his undeserved and extravagant goodness. The performance is breathtaking. God is all about displaying the riches of his grace—and worship is what happens as a result. We are captivated by the music and cannot but respond with praise. It is irresistible.

–Jurgen Schulz

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Well said! Thank you.


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