Only in one aspect has Satan succeeded in his deceptive schemes. Sadly, it is in Christian worship that the devil appears as winning, leaving Zimbabwe under siege. Politics have been used as scapegoat, but, everything emanates from inappropriate Christian practices.
Most Christians take lightly what is said in Exodus 20:3-6. As the first of the Ten Commandments given to the Israelites, God shows that He abhors idolatry. He does not tolerate anything that competes with His Holiness. God is the Creator of everything and is worthy of worship. The basic failures of Israel were generally centred on idolatry.
Anything that attracts one’s attention from worshiping the true God is idolatry, coming in many forms. It can be one’s talents. It can be wealth. It can be religious or political leaders. It can be religion itself. It can be one’s own country, a favourite sport or anything that takes away the focus from God who created everything. The list can be as long as a reader can analyze what constitutes idolatry in anyone’s conduct. Below are dichotomous behaviours found in worship practices. One is true and the other is false, leading to our current problems in Zimbabwe:
1. “Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (Rev 4:8 NIV)
Notice carefully that this type of worship is not self-centred, but simply highlighting the holiness of God, without evaluating on what constitutes the acceptable or unacceptable behaviour of others. It is Christ-centric, without self-praise or praising anything else other than God.
2. “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down” (Rev 12:10 NIV) (emphasis mine).
This is another methodology in worship, based on disapproval of all wrong-doing, religiously condemning wrongdoers and giving them no chance, except the consequences of sin, death.
These scriptures are opposite to each other in the worship of God. But, looked at carefully, they hold one thing in common and that is: Day and night occupation. They are dichotomously characterized, but intended for worshiping God. The first portrays true worship, while the second portrays false worship. I will explain why.
John 8:4-11 serves to illustrate and expose false worship. The accusers who dragged a woman caught in adultery to Jesus, intended to have her stoned to death, in accordance with the Law of Moses (Lev 20:10). They clearly intended to maintain the observance of the law to its finest detail. Nothing amiss there, as far as Law-keeping is concerned.
Stoning the woman had been justified and the woman knew it. But the accusers fulfilled the false worship in Rev 12:10. They supposed that they religiously stood for God, yet the opposite was true.
After the accusers had left the scene, the woman remained, standing before Jesus, obviously confused of what would happen to her life. Having been cleared of the consequences of her sin, she was obviously left without any other alternative except to bow down to Jesus, in gratitude, fulfilling the true worship described in Rev 4:8.
Under such circumstances, nothing else was left, except to truly worship God who saved her from the deserved punishment. Another parable portraying similar contriteness is of the tax collector, as compared with his Pharisaic counterpart (Luke 18:9-14). The tax collector became a true worshiper, the Pharisee maintaining the false worship.
The Pharisaic viewpoint is what has dragged us into our current problems in Zimbabwe. On one hand some Christians blame Robert Mugabe for what is wrong and on the other hand others blame Morgan Tsvangirai, thereby creating the existent polarization in Zimbabwean politics. All are wrong.
True Christians take full responsibility on what prevails. They are the light of the world (Matt 5:14). The crisis prevailing across the Christian spectrum serves to maintain the status quo, so long as false worshipers continue in their passionate blame game scenario.
True worshiping implies taking full responsibility to change things for the better. However, Christianity is mixed with worshiping of political and religious leaders, instead of God. One group is blamed for supporting an assumed wrong political party and yet the other group is also blamed for supporting another. In short, it is the blame game that has dragged the country into its current conundrums, without anyone taking responsibility on what prevails.
We are in problems because of ZANU PF, or we are in problems because of MDC, so it is reasoned. The emergence of super religious leaders has also compound the treachery of worshiping human beings instead of God.
While true that political leaders should take responsibility, my argument is that such leaders are elected by the people, who should take full responsibility, when a wrong leader ascends to power. The voting pattern in Zimbabwe has always been influenced by false worshiping, as analyzed in our thematic scriptures. The hatred of one political faction is often religiously driven, where people vote under the influence of malice, more than being influenced by true worship.
Let us get the facts right: A true worshiper is as good as dead, just as the adulterous woman could not imagine being spared from death. Nothing of value remains, to sustain the dignity, of those having interacted with the true worship of God. In that condition, a person can never be self-centred anymore, as to blame others for any wrongness in the environment. The motivating question becomes; what is there for other people? Instead of; what is there for me? Zimbabwe is currently under siege, chocked by forces of self-centredness.
I hope this article will inject true worship among Christians, reversing the current trend towards abyss. I am not much worried about political leaders, but by those who matter most—Christians—supposing they truly want to obey God. I hope that God helps us take this seriously.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, which lays down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into becoming a model to other countries worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social instability. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabwean readers should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.