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African American couple having relationship difficulties at home.

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One evening, Justin returns home from work and finds his wife, Angela, all made up and slipping into a beautiful outfit. He concludes she must have planned something special for them and offers to get dressed up as well.

Angela, a bit confused, responds, “Oh honey, I’m going out with Tony tonight. We’re going to get dinner, catch a movie, and check into the Fairmont Hotel. I should be back by midmorning.”

“Who’s Tony?!” Justin fires back.

“He’s my boyfriend from high school,” she replies.

“What! You can’t go out with him!”

“Why not?”

“Because we are married; we are committed to each other. We don’t date other people!” he says, stating what he assumes should be obvious.

“Hold on, honey!” Angela replies. “You are my favorite. I love you more than any of my old boyfriends, but you really can’t expect me to not see them any longer. I’ve been close with some of them for years, I still love them, and I want to enjoy time with them. What’s wrong with that?”

Obviously, this is not a real couple. We can’t even imagine someone not understanding that marriage means an exclusive relationship. Certainly, none of us would marry someone like Angela who expected to continue dating old boyfriends.

Yet this is how so many of us treat our relationship with Jesus.

Throughout Scripture, God compares our relationship to Him to the relationship of marriage. It is also how God spoke of His relationship to Israel in the Old Testament. Interestingly, every time God spoke to Israel through the prophets about how they committed adultery against Him, it had to do with the issue of idolatry.

We might think of idolatry as bowing down to statues, but the heart of it is worship. God defines worship the first time we see it mentioned in Scripture, in the story of Abraham and Isaac. Here, we see that worship is obedience.

Worship is not some slow, beautiful song; it is obedience. No matter how we “perform” in church, if we do not obey God in our daily lives, we are not worshiping Him and are, in fact, living in adultery like Angela. 

How does this understanding of worship change the way you think about Christian living?

Scripture:  1 Samuel 15:22-23
22And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

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