I've been trying to get back to this for a week now! Allergies, kids, work and just plain old life have gotten in the way.
So last post, I asked a question. "Do you think 'Worship' is the opening act for the message?" I got some good responses. Some were encouraging. Some were disheartening. I want to start this post with a statement, rather than a question. John Piper, in his amazing book Desiring God, said this (and I'm paraphrasing), that worship is not the means to the end. It IS the end.
So what does that mean? Well, it means this: that we are not to worship God out of duty, obligation, or because we just feel good at the time. We should worship God in EVERYTHING. It is the end of all things. To worship Him is why we were created. You want to live a life of freedom-- and I mean true freedom here, not the culturalized definition that we adhere to-- then you need to become a better worshiper. And let's just put this out there. And I'm gonna give it its own line because it deserves it.
Worship is NOT singing the 3 or 4 songs before the message at church. It is merely one, tiny, though very significant, portion of worship.
Worship is a lifestyle. If you are found in Christ, the Bible says that you are a new creation, one that is capable now of choosing to live a life of righteousness. You are no longer bound to your sinful desires (though we all know as a broken and fractured creation, we will still mess up. Let's not kid ourselves here... 1 John 1:5-10) But, we are new, found in Him! That should be the most astonishing, astounding, profound thing that we could try to wrap our minds around. We are no longer subjected to the 2nd death (Revelation 20:6). If we could fully comprehend this... and here's the thing... we CAN! We just have to apply some effort... then we would wake up each morning, regardless of what our situation is in life: rich, poor, sick, healthy, happy, sad, busy, relaxed... you name it, and we would be overwhelmed with the fact that the God of the universe, the Creator of everything, chose us, before the foundations of the world, that we may become adopted sons and daughters of the Christ, and share in His resurrection, and we would be moved to a state of mind that drives us to our knees and humbles us before Him in awe and wonder. And we would strive to, with everything in our lives, live to exemplify the work that He has done in us, and our lives would be lives that are led by worshiping Him and seeking His desires, and to do His will for our lives.
Oh, if we only recognized what we have been given....
My heart yearns for a time when the church, not just The Journey Church in Lebanon Tn, but THE CHURCH realizes that getting together on Sundays to gather together in fellowship is the culmination of our week, ending in praising Him, singing songs of adoration and hearing His word preached, and breaking the bread and taking the cup. Not because it's Sunday and that's what we do.... But because we've worshiped Him all week through our actions and our decisions and our words and deeds and our giving and our parenting and in our relationships with others and in our marriages, and now we are gathering together with our brothers and sisters and we are celebrating the Risen Christ!, for all of the blessings that we have.
I'm going to say something here and I hope it bothers some of you. It disgusts me to think that people come to church on Sundays because their ONLY motivation for being there is because they love the music, or they love their worship leader, or their pastor, and it's not to worship the Living God, from start to finish. That is Idolatry. And if you're one of those people, then you are an idolater. And you need to fall on your knees and you need to repent and ask your Father in Heaven to forgive you for not worshiping Him, and allowing Him to be the sole source of your joy and adoration. And you need to ask Him to reveal to you, through His word (yeah, you're gonna have to read the Bible to hear from Him... that's kinda how He communicates with us) how to worship Him better. And then you need to surround yourself with people who get it! You need truth tellers in your life that are going to hold you accountable for walking in the Light.
And when you allow all of that to take place in your life, you will finally understand what Worship is. And the Opening Act... well, it will become the first breath you take in the morning, as you wake up and thank Him, who ordained it that you even live.