Is God Selfish and Prideful?
But there is an objection to this. God continually tells us to put others first, to think of others, to serve others, and then God turns around and commands us to put him first, to worship Him, to serve Him. Doesn’t this seem selfish? If I say everyone needs to bow down and worship me, sing praises to my name, and everything you do needs to make me look good. I am going to be needy and you would be disgusted. You are going to think I am a loon, and you would be right. It would not make sense. And yet why can God do this? How can God say, “It’s all about me,” and that be ok? Is that not hypocritical?
C. S. Lewis before he became a Christian thought the same thing, but he came to realize something that put the whole notion in a completely different light for me. What if admiration was the highest pleasure and what if God were the most admirable thing?
Could you imagine winning tickets to the Super Bowl and you are pumped, you are excited. You get to the game early, ready to tailgate, hangout with other fans, listen to the festivities and no one was there. You walk around looking for someone or something and nothing. You get inside the stadium and sit down and people start to file into the stadium and sit down. No one is wearing jerseys or painted up. No one excited and then during the game everyone sits down, no one cheers or hollers or claps or yells. Dead Silence. The game would be completely different. You would be disappointed, and rightly so. One reason people love games is because of the atmosphere.
The atmosphere and crowds, and cheering doesn’t just express your excitement it completes it. We are made to worship, praise, admire. And God is the most admirable thing. Doesn’t it then make sense God calls us to worship Him. So by praising God, we can become more joyful, content, and blessed.
C. S. Lewis says it this way:
“The most obvious fact about praise—whether of God or anything—strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless …shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise—lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game – praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars. I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits, and malcontents praised least.…I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what we indeed can’t help doing, about everything else we value.
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; … The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”
C. S. Lewis is saying, if God would have our joy complete he
must command you to do what will make you infinitely and eternally happy,
namely to see, savor, and say God’s praises! So the
most loving thing God can do is tell us to praise and glorify Him.
 C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms. (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1958), pp. 93–97
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