DOES GOD HAVE EGO PROBLEMS?
Does God have ego issues? Some people have made that accusation. Why else would God want to be worshiped. Someone who needs praise all the time is not a person we consider emotionally grounded or mentally healthy. Anyone who needs to be stroked and pumped up by praise has problems. They tend to be insecure and in need of assurance about their worth. Is that the way it is with God?
I don’t think so. In fact God doesn’t need our praise. That may be a surprise to some people. Regardless, God doesn’t need anything because God is self-sufficient, lacking in nothing. God is not a praise-craving neurotic. God is super-abundant love who gives with no requirement for anything in return. Nothing we can do bolsters God’s ego or assuages God’s feeble sense of self-worth.
So why worship? Why does God care whether we worship at all if God doesn’t need our worship? The answer is not found by looking to God’s needs but our own needs. We have several needs worship helps meet.
First, in praising God we are reminded that we are not God. Time and time again people have “exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). We honor things that are extensions of ourselves: our families, race, nation, etc. Sometimes we give greater loyalty and love to such things than we give to God. Worship reminds us only God is truly worthy of our full allegiance.
Second, as we worship we declare the powers and authorities in this world are not God. Yes, earthly authorities have a role in ordering society. They are necessary. But they don’t deserve unqualified obedience or devotion. Scripture declares, “Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales” (Isaiah 40:15). In our faithful praise we confess “great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be revered above all gods” (Psalms 96:4).
Third, in worship we rehearse the faith story that shapes us to be people of God. “Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts” (1 Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 26:7; Psalms 105:2). The story of faith that we declare and embody in worship makes us into a distinctive people who endeavor to love others as Jesus loved. The Christian story that forms our character unites us with others across the borders of nation, race, culture and class to make us one in Christ.
Fourth, worship makes us a more thankful people. “Sing to the LORD with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp” (Psalm 147:7). As we worship we recall all that God has done for us and all the blessings God has poured down. We turn our attention to the greatest gift giver of all and celebrate what God has done. Grateful people are more satisfied and fulfilled.
Fifth, related to the above point, worship fosters our joy. “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (Psalms 28:7). “Sing to God, sing in praise of his name…; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD” (Psalms 68:4). “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you” (Psalms 71:23). Praise lifts our hearts as we get out of ourselves and acknowledge the beauty and goodness of God.
Sixth, our worship bears witness to others. “I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples “(Psalms 57:9). Worship is not done in seclusion, hidden from view. It is a public act. The story we rehearse in word, song and ritual is not just for us but for the whole world because “God so loved the world that he sent his son” (John 3:16). Our worship announces the self-giving love of God in Christ for the healing of the broken world and the reconciliation of all things to Godself (Colossians 1:20).
No, God doesn’t have an ego problem that requires our worship. Rather God calls us to worship because God knows we need to worship in order to find our rightful devotion, our reason for gratitude, our source of joy and more. And, so, let us praise the Lord!
Grace & Peace,