"O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah." - Psalm 4:2
These words describe accurately one half of the great struggle between God and man that has comprised human history. (The other half is found in Romans 5:20, “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” Praise be to God that Romans 5:20 has the final word over Psalm 4:2). God has made man in his image, after his likeness, to be like him in his holy character and personality. Now, in Psalm 4:2, the verse may refer to the perceptions of the deity that people have: “How long will you turn my glory into shame?” As it says in Romans 1:23: “They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like man and birds and animals and reptiles.” This exchange has denigrated God and insulted him, for God has been polluted in the mind and esteem of man. But God's glory itself is unaffected by man's sinful exchange. No, it is man's glory that is destroyed, man's glory polluted, man's glory put to shame.
This whole issue brings to mind a cardinal law of human experience: People become like what they worship. It says so clearly in Psalm 115:8, “Those who make them (idols) will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” This is the negative illustration of this cardinal law. But God has also commanded it to be so in the case of all who worship him: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44) “You must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) “Forgive, as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13) “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children...” (Ephesians 5:1). In these and many other places, God calls his children to be like him, for that was both our original purpose and our final destiny.
When we sin, we turn the glory of God (which he meant for us to share) into shame. Paul draws this same connection in Romans 3:23: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Perhaps this means, “All have sinned, and all sin transforms our character to be unlike God.” Therefore, sinning is the opposite of worshipping God, since an inherent element of worship is imitation.
"When we sin, we turn the glory of God (which he meant for us to share) into shame."
To worship God, one must put away sin and begin to imitate him. Thus, a temptation resisted is a high act of worship, and it reverses the decay of character brought on by previous sins and leads ultimately to perfect righteousness (Romans 6:16), or holy conformity to Christ in glorious character, which is our destiny (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29, and 1 John 3:2-3 have clear descriptions of this whole process). So, today let’s resolve to purify ourselves as he is pure (imitation), and in so doing we will be worshipping in Spirit and truth.