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Project 52—Memorize:
John 4:23-24

“The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The Samaritan woman Jesus encountered at the well of Sychar was suffering from what I call “designer deity syndrome”. This was a fairly common syndrome among worshipers not only in Jesus’ day, but it is in ours as well. It occurs when we attempt to come to God on our terms rather than his; when we make worship more about us, and what we like, than about God, and what he likes; when, in effect, we recreate God in our image rather than approaching him as beings created in his image.

That was the problem with the worship of the Samaritans. They had corrupted worship to fit their own needs to the point Jesus said, “You don’t even know what you’re worshipping.” (John 4:22) They had become Burger King worshipers. Do you remember the old Burger King advertisement? “Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us. Have it your way.” That little jingle is fitting for what we modern day “Samaritans” are doing with our experience of worship.

We love a customized church experience. We expect worship services to be tailor-made just for us. We expect the praise, programs and preaching to satisfy our preferences. We want church designed to meet our needs, music tuned to our exact tastes, preachers crafted to our specifications, messages that mesmerize, and a made to order God—a “Burger King God” who says, “Have it your way”.

Some time ago, Los Angeles Magazine ran an article called “God For Sale”. The author said, “It is no surprise that when today’s affluent young professionals return to church they want to do it only on their own terms. But what is amazing is how far the churches are going to oblige them.” Newsweek Magazine added, “They’ve developed a pick and choose Christianity in which individuals take what they want and pass over what does not fit their spiritual goals…”

That is what I would call “designer god syndrome”.

Nothing can be further from the “spirit and truth” worshiper of John 4:24 that Jesus said God the Father is seeking. When it comes to God, and the way you worship him, why don’t you say to him, “Have it your way!” That is God-focused worship—which by definition, is the only way to worship.

If you will learn what it means to do that, you will drink water from an altogether different kind of well–-and as Jesus promised, you will never thirst again!

“Worship changes the worshiper into the image of the One worshiped”  ~Jack Hayford

Reflect & Apply: If you have been guilty of engaging in “Designer Deity Worship”, perhaps this would be an appropriate prayer to offer right now:  “Father, free me from designer deity syndrome. Forgive me for making worship more about me than about what pleases you. Teach me to truly worship you in Spirit and in Truth.”

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