Monday, March 31, 2014

True Worship

Some posts, such as this one, raises a fear in me that I should ever look like a hypocrite.  I shudder to think of anyone reading this thinking-wow she must have it together.

It couldn't be farther from the truth, dare I ever mislead anyone to even imagine that for a second.  So consider this your disclaimer:  the thoughts I'm sharing with you today are taking much bravery, some boldness, and lots of tenderness.  For they are not the words that describe my life at the moment.  However, they are the words that describe my heart, my conviction, my burdens, and what I'm striving towards.

Worship.  What is it and what is it not?  Is it mainly praise and worship music and joining in?  As much as I love it and look forward to it each Sunday or on my own in the privacy of my home or car, it's more than just that.  But yes it is that too.  In a nutshell I think we can describe worship as this...

Our life's response to the fact that He is God and I am not.  So He calls the shots, He has my attention and my focus.  

When I think of true worshippers in the Bible of course many come to mind, but at the top of the list in my mind is without a doubt Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3:1-30).  It's a story we can easily feel cut off from in our day and age.  Anyone been threatened to be thrown into a blazing furnace if you don't bow down to a false god lately?   Probably not.  But have I been pulled and pursued by other idols in my life that are begging for my worship (attention, focus) instead of God alone?  Every single day.  Some days it can feel like a constant struggle.  So today I'm sharing with you 3 conclusions that we can learn from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the responses that I feel like God is calling us to.  

1.)  There is just as much pressure to bow to idols today as there was then.
They're just more subtle.  But anything that we are putting in our minds, lives or hearts above God is exactly that-an idol.  Sadly if anyone told us that was an idol we would probably quit right away.  But so often we simply don't recognize it.  
That extra hour of sleep instead of quality, intimate time alone with your Maker?  That's just rest-I need rest.  (Ya'll I'm screaming this one at myself)
That relationship in my life that I think about way more than I focus on my relationship with God?
That's just normal.
That tendency to turn to food, sleep, shopping when things go badly?  
I'm just coping.
No.   We will never resist the enemy's tactics if we don't recognize them for what they are.  Every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, I have to make the choice-who will I worship today?  Who will get my focus, my attention?  Who will get to call the shots of my day, my life?  Ultimately remember this...Seeing your idol compared to Jesus will always take you from death to life.  
Response:  Pray for God to open your eyes to the idols that have somehow come into your life.  You probably never intended them to be there.  Me neither sweet friend, me neither.  Repent of them and begin to tear them down.  (Acts 3:19)

2.)  Those who bow will always outnumber those who stand.  
Sometimes you will stand all alone.  Don't let it surprise you or discourage you.  Just a few that stood alone at times as well-Abraham, Elijiah, Noah, David, Moses, Jeremiah, Daniel, Paul, and yes-even Jesus on a cross, dying a death I alone deserved.  
Response:  Courage.  Bravery to stand up even-especially-when we are the only ones standing.  May we do it for the glory of God even more boldly.

3.)  Those who refuse to bow will feel the heat.
If you feel alone, rejected, like it's costing you something-then welcome to the cross.  Our society has grown accustomed to comfort so when we are in a season of pain and discomfort, it feels wrong and off.  But where in Scripture are we promised a life without suffering?  No where.  We are promised His Presence through the suffering though.  We are never more like Him than when we are suffering for the Gospel.  At the end of the day, if our faith doesn't cost us something, it won't stand up for much.  
Response:  Suffer for the Gospel.  Maybe that looks like getting up an hour earlier to spend that time drawing closer to Him before the day takes off, maybe it's standing up for your faith knowing full well you might very likely be met with nothing but rejection and oppression.

On a personal note-before the week has even started I can see some idols that are going to potentially pop up against me.  It's moving day around here.  As you are reading this the Mr and I are probably loading up the uhaul and saying goodbye to our home.  My heart is torn in a bittersweet battle.  I am so excited for what God has provided in our new home and for the ways we have seen Him move.  It's just one thing-He has done a lot in our current home too, and a bit of my heart is breaking to shut the door one last time and turn in our key.  It was a lovely home with beautiful memories, and the most precious neighbors that became family to us very quickly.  I know some of the idols in my heart this week will come in forms of sadness looking back instead of forward, and stress unpacking and not being able to find anything.  

So I'm going for this---remembering that HE is the prize, everything else is just byproduct.  

Linking up with:  The Modest Mom, Nan, Hope in Every Season   

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