We should not be afraid of favor, or being successful at what we do, because it's for Jesus' glory. We were made to shine and to stand out FOR GOD's GLORY. We should be constantly giving that glory back to God. Favor in our lives is a way of bringing glory to God. If you are in a position to give glory to God and not keep it for yourself, it is so pleasing to God. We can do this by not being needy of other people's praise. Other people's praise can fill the holes in our lives of needing to feel needed or loved or special. But Jesus wants to do this for us. He wants to give us this affection because He loves us. He wants to fill our need for affection as we give Him affection back. When we have been called to do something, like worship, we should not be motivated by other people's praise OR criticism. Even when people question what we KNOW are called to do, we need to continue to do it. Know who you are in Christ and persist in that. It's for God's glory.
The role of faith in worship: A life of worship is a life of faith. If you want to test your faith, look at how you live your life. Do your actions reveal faith? What are the church's claims? What do we believe? We believe some crazy, massive things. We believe Jesus is the incarnate son of God. Our God is the one, true God, He is Holy, pure, He saves us, redeems us, He is a consuming fire, the first and the last, the creator of heaven and earth, He is rich in kindness, mercy, and grace. He heals. He can WALK on WATER!! He can RAISE the DEAD!! Do we actually believe these things?!? As the Church? Faith without action is dead. You know what you believe by how you act. Do we believe God really loves us with an everlasting love? What is our response to this?
We are not just minds. We are not just souls. We are not just hearts. We are not just bodies. They are intertwined. They are supposed to be. Have you ever noticed that when you look good, you feel good? After a hard day's work doing something dirty, like building a house or digging in the garden, it's amazing the change that can happen to our outlook on life after 1 shower. That is our heart and mind's connection to our body. What is in your heart will also physically manifest itself on your body. There once was a study that said people who experienced heart break actually feel the heart break as a physical pain.
So, do our church services and our lives reflect what we believe about God? Another example, kids and ice cream. When an adult says there's ice cream, they sure aren't looking around to see if anyone else is excited. They're EXCITED!! They don't care if anyone else is jumping up and down, they are jumping up and down! The same with football games. No one taught sports fans what to do to get excited. No one said, when they score a touch down, jump up and down and scream. It's a natural reaction! Case in point with concerts, too. You could go to a Coldplay concert. You may not like Coldplay (you may not even know who they are), but the fans there ARE GOING WILD...even before the concert starts. Just being in that environment will make even the most apathetic listener start to at least tap their foot. It may even make that person into a fan. These are examples of when we are so emotional, so un reserved, unabashed. And all of these are examples of worship--people attributing worth to something. God is being outcelebrated by meaningless, trivial things. He is to be celebrated at a much higher level. We need to wake up to the glory of God!! We've made raising our hands and prostrating ourselves into emotionalism and not as a valuable response to who God is. When we sing songs, like Chris Tomlin's "We stand and lift up our hands, for the joy of the Lord is our strength. We bow down, and worship Him now. How great, how awesome is He!" Do we occasionally actually lift our hands or bow down in worship, or are they just words we sing??
Love is so much deeper--it's a choice. A choice to honor no matter how we feel. It's really irrelevant how we feel. He is still worthy to be praised. It's like loving a spouse or a relative. There are probably times when you really don't feel like loving that other person. But if you always waited until you felt like loving that person, that wouldn't really be real love. You love inspite of feelings because you choose to. The world is watching and asking if we really believe what we say we believe. If we're asking people to give their whole life up, I hope it's evident as to why.
God waits to be sought after. The system is that He beckons to us--If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me. He waits for a thirsty, hungry people who will respond to Him. We're first. Draw near to Him and He will draw near back. We will experience Him in crazy, awesome ways. We experience as much as we desire to see. The people who long to see miracles will see them. The steadfast pray-ers see them. Those who never pray, never see. One person can change the culture of worship in a church. The extent to which we hunger and thirst and long for God is the extent to which we see God in our lives. Increase our appetite, Lord. Increase our vision to see You.
|Jeremy Riddle and Josh LaFrance at Harvest Hands|