This week's word is centered on worship.
It's a word that is often misunderstood and subsequently misdirected by how we are feeling instead of who we are following. Human beings worship every day because God has created each of us with a desire to worship. Some engage in good worship of a bad god and others settle for bad worship of a good God. It's when a person experiences great worship of a Great God that life truly is blessed!
Before 'the fall' of humanity in Genesis 3, worship was personal and pure. Adam & Eve were one with God. Their activities and responsibilities were centered around God's presence and on God's purpose. Adam was active in overseeing what God had created and given him dominion over. And it's not a stretch to say that Adam sang the praises of God as he served the Lord he loved with all his heart.
Worship is the outflow of what the heart desperately loves! Worship influences who or what we long to see, say, serve and share. Therefore, it is correct to say that genuine worship impacts 'our work' and it improves 'our witness'. Human beings find a way to serve what they love most and share that love with someone. That was the life Adam & Eve experienced and expressed.
Before Adam had a 'change of heart', his days were filled with the joy of knowing that God was near and the fulfillment of being engaged in God's perfect purpose. Adam's days were saturated with worship as he lived and loved God. His days were not consumed with idleness or futility as so many are today whose hearts are 'dead' or 'dull' toward God.
Adam's 'change of heart' resulted in all of the above being twisted. Adam's new found purpose would be centered more on Adam's will than God's and his worship would be affected, as a result. Instead of running to God when he heard His voice or sensed His presence as he had so often--Adam, instead, ran and hid, (or at least attempted to). And when Adam realized that he could run but couldn't hide, he chose initially to blame God and then everything God had provided for him, beginning with those closest to him. Because of his own disobedience, Adam had become defiant in his spirit toward God and he chose to distance himself from God instead of draw near. The desire of his heart was no longer filtered through love for God and the deep longing for what God loves. His heart became self absorbed and his worship was re-directed; at least for a period of time. That is the way it was for Adam then because that is the way it is for us, today.
The rebellion of sin continues to 'twist' a person's perspective of God and ruins one's worship in the process. Instead of loving God and living with joy in Him continually, many choose to 'hide' in the foliage of worshiping the gods of their own design. Some devote themselves to the worship of friendships or family while others choose to 'hide' in the foliage of the worship of freedom without any boundaries. Still others pour their energy and resources into the worship of pursuing wealth and some refuse to be involved in anything that isn't fun or doesn't feel good.
Being 'under the influence of the world system' causes human beings to decide to try to 'hide' themselves in the creation of God rather than in the God who created them and loves them. The Apostle Paul would simplify this twisted approach to life as substituting the truth for a lie that results in loving what God has created more than loving God who created it. Romans 1:25
It is no secret that the substitutes of Satan that are designed to misdirect worship abound in our culture. And the N.T. church is not immune from its influence either. The purpose of the Adversary has not changed. His aim is to hinder those whom God created from abiding in Him. John 15
As a consequence, human beings continue to worship 'in their own way', on 'their own terms' and 'according to their own schedule'. And the lust for life as defined by the world system around us takes precedence over genuine devotion for God. The duty of religious practices too soon becomes 'just as good' as a personal relationship with God as casual Christianity takes the place of intimate fellowship. And all because we, like Adam had a 'change of heart'.
I'm grateful that God in His mercy came looking for Adam that day in the garden. God knew Adam had a 'change of heart' before He asked him where he was hiding. Only God knew at that point the true cost of sin. Only God understood the depth of hurt that sin had inflicted on the soul of Adam and his descendants. And yet God loved Adam enough to make a way to restore what sin had robbed him of and selfishness had ruined. By the shedding of blood, the soul once ruined in rebellion was restored in righteousness.
I am grateful that God in His mercy came looking for me almost 40 years ago and restored what sin destroyed. No matter when you and I were found, genuine worship should be the supernatural response.
What are you worshiping presently?
Is your worship personal? Is your worship pure? Do you truly 'prize' being in God's presence?
Are you learning to filter your plans through His will OR are you struggling with squeezing His will into your plans?
Filtering our plans through His will is fulfilling. The rest is just frustrating and filled with futility?
In spite of all that God provided for Israel--"they sinned and did not believe in His wondrous works. Therefore their days He consumed in futility and their years in fear." Psalm 78:32-33
How will we respond to all that God has provided? How will the rest of your years be spent?
God bless each of you as you face that choice daily. May you all be engaged in
great worship of a Great God this week.
1 Corinthians 15:58