by Tad Lindley
We were in California and the traffic was ridiculous, so we arrived late to the service. Because we were late, we had to sit towards the back. The preaching was good, and I started to Amen the preacher (for which he thanked me afterward). Immediately some of the hundreds of people between me and the preacher started to turn around to see who was the drunk guy disrupting the service, only to see a very sober me solidly enjoying the preaching of the word of God. The interesting thing is that many of those people would think nothing about being at an LA Rams or Dodgers game and yelling at the top of their lungs, and yet when the power and victory of the cross was being preached, they were like statues, looking at their watches.
Who are you giving glory to?
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O, Lord, my God, I will give thanks to thee forever. (Psalm 30:12)
They never said a word when you were City League champ, pouring every dime into traveling around the state to sink three-pointers, while your poor wife was struggling to scrape enough together for diapers and wipes. They never tried to stop you when your four wheeler was the first one to arrive at bingo and the last to leave even though your kids were underfed and neglected. They never expressed concern when you were all over social media advocating for the medical benefits of cannabis and behind the closed doors of your home going full psycho on your family. The worship assassins could care less about your behavior as long as you don’t worship the one true God, Jesus.
How to trigger a visit from the worship assassins
But let you make one post about how great Jesus is, how he washed away your sins in water baptism, how he filled you with the Holy Ghost and you spoke in tongues just like in the book of Acts, and suddenly the worship assassins start coming out of the woodwork. Perhaps it is the chief priests, or the Pharisees, or maybe the church elders, or maybe it is family members or friends. They never said a word when you were living a life that was headed straight to hell, but now you have begun to read your Bible and you have begun to get right with God, and they want to crush your victory under the guise of being concerned about you. They left you alone when you were destroying your life and the lives of others bootlegging and drug dealing, but now that you got baptized in Jesus’ name you are on their radar.
The assassination attempt
Finally you are getting right with God, and your 4-5-6 crew shows up and says, “Man, you’ve changed. Are you sure this is really something you want to do? You used to love shooting dice, what’s wrong with you?” A family member says, “Who do you think you are? You are a nobody, everybody knows how you used to…” A religious leader shows up at your door and tells you, “Acts 2:38 may be in the Bible, but it is definitely not a part of our religion, unless you walk away from it now, we will kick you out of our religion and we won’t allow you to be buried in our cemetery!” These are all fairly common ways that people try to discourage new believers from living for God. You see when you turn to God, your repentance makes people uncomfortable, because it convicts them of their own sin.
You are not alone
If you have turned to God and are trying to obey the Bible, you are not alone if people condemn you for it. Jesus was heading toward Jericho and a man named Bartimaeus was sitting along the road (Luke 18:35-42). When Jesus approached, Bartimaeus began to worship him and to call out for mercy. The worship assassins went straight to work trying to shut Bartimaeus down, “Shut up Bartimaeus, you’re just a blind beggar!” But Bartimaeus refused to listen to the assassins, instead he turned up his volume! I’ll let you read your Bible to see how that one ended up. Later that very same day a man named Zaccheus was also along the roadside (Luke 19:1-10). Zaccheus was a thief. Instead of focusing on the great miracle of his conversion, the worship assassins began to murmur about him, “What is Jesus doing with low-class trash like Zaccheus?” (verse 7 paraphrase).
Even religious leaders try to kill the worship!
When Jesus was coming into Jerusalem about 4 days before he went to the cross (Luke 19:28-44), the people were cutting tree branches and laying them in the road. Others were taking their outer garments off and laying them in the road for the Lord’s donkey to walk over. The crowd was worshiping Jesus, “Blessed is the King that comes in the name of the Lord!” Amidst all of this praise and excitement, here come the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees, “Master, rebuke thy disciples!” (19:39) They wanted to stifle the worship completely. Here is Jesus’ response to the worship assassins: And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. (19:40) And so the people worshiped and praised on, because they wanted to please God and not men. When the worship assassins show up in your life, don’t get discouraged, turn up the volume.
Reverend Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.