Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Created for Worship

"But the time is coming-it has, in fact, come--when what you're called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.  It's who you are and the way you live that count before God.  Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth.  That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for:  those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship.”  God is sheer being itself-Spirit.  Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration."    (John 4:21-24, The Message)

We are going to worship something. Our hearts and minds and souls were created to worship God.  The reason we struggle is because of our bent to worship someone or something other than God.  Like cobwebs, these other things trap us, each strand pulling us in opposite directions.  They are illusions that promise us enjoyment or peace, or that our every need will be met.  That once we have that person or that thing which we desire, we will be satisfied.  So we work to that end and offer our worship.

The counterfeit, the idol, the false god, grabs our immediate attention.  Then it demands more and more of our loyalty.  It sucks the very life from us because, in the end, it does not give what it has promised.  It does not have the power to give, and it can never be enough.  It is a false gospel.

At a young age, I became preoccupied with approval and beauty.  First I think, as a small child performing, and later entering pageants. Then over the years, the honors I achieved were very important, because I wanted others' approval.  My last year in high school, I was voted "Queen of the School."  I don't know why, but I felt embarrassed by the honor.  I asked my mom and dad not to come see me crowned.

Since that time, I've continued to be embarrassed by attention paid to me.  The public lifestyle we have lived because of my husband's career has made made it very hard for me to take a back seat.  But that is where I have chosen to be whenever possible because my focus changed from getting approval by honors, to wanting to be good.  A good wife.  A good mother.  And a good Christian . . .

When I realized I could no longer balance all the plates, and that what I was doing was too much for me, I came out of denial.  I was no longer a beauty queen, or the great wife of a successful man.  I was a woman with a mental disorder, locked behind closed doors, singing amazing grace with my inmates.

With everything I had taken pride in taken away, my focus was all about God.  I could be honest about who I was and who God was, and who He had been to me.  I learned what it was to worship from my heart, all the time, not just in the traditional way at church, although I loved that worship also.  I started taking steps towards simply being myself.

For so long, I had hidden behind walls of protection for fear of rejection.  I had pretended to be someone I wasn't and could never be: perfect. I came to understand that I could only be perfect by the gift of Christ's righteousness.  I was already loved and accepted by Him and the Father.  I was beautiful to Him no matter what my appearance.  I also realized that Christ came for the sick and that I needed a Savior, even more.  No one or no thing could meet my need besides Him.  I was free in the gospel.

The Lord is changing me to see that it's not about whether the attention is on me or not on me, but it's about the attention being on God and on loving others with the love He gives me.  I still forget at times, but when I do, the Spirit is so gentle in showing me.  I confess it to Him, and to others, and He brings me to repentance and faith.  It is a gift from God and from others, to point me to Him.

God is seeking those who will worship Him.  Since we were created to worship Him, He helps us by stripping us of our idols.  It's not that we will never go there again, but we can pray, "O Lord, search my heart," and hopefully, we will begin to recognize our idol(s) more quickly each time.

God always desires us.  The Spirit will give us the longing for God.  We can respond with worship in Spirit and in Truth.  He is the truth and the way.  

Let's go to Christ and the Father and their affection for us.  Let us be changed, fulfilled, reassured of who we are to Him, and who He is, and rest in that truth.  Let us rest and receive God's love.  Lord, this is my prayer.