DELIBERATELY PURSUING GOD
O COME LET US ADORE HIM
“That Christ may DWELL in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be FILLED with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
Yes, these messages are about praising the Lord from a worship leader’s observation and will be a blessing to anyone that can relate to the call to minister in the arts; however, the content is not limited to those who stand on a stage. These pages are for every saint that calls themselves a child of God! Worship is a beautiful form of communication the same as prayer and is a vital part of our personal relationship with Christ. Those who are in love with Jesus, longs for the intimate times when they are in the peace and contentment of His presence. I am convinced that loving God is the meaning of life and we were created to exalt Him, but I also realize that people usually do not sit around and say; let’s go worship God any more than they are fascinated with prayer and fasting! But allow me to say from the very beginning that this series that these teachings are not for those who are seeking a “normal” or “average” life. Our heavenly Father has much to say in these last hours and is using many different avenues like this book to relay that He wants us to come closer to Him. Yes, the mighty Omnipotent One who made it all and knows it all has a desire – He wants us to understand the true purpose for the life He has made for us. And then He wants us to willingly follow Him with sincere love into the glorious light of His presence. Instead of trying to squeeze Him into our busy schedule, He wants us to lay down our plans and receive His brand new way of thinking and living. This is called Christianity and brings worship and prayer from the bottom of our priorities all the way to the top. As we choose to walk with Him in a personal intimate relationship, we begin to see the reason why we are here.
Worship is a unique phenomenon for the loss of a better word, in that humans seem to avoid thinking about the term – yet actually practice it subconsciously all the time. It is amazing how many people focus their attention and passion toward a certain interest but never consider that worship is directly related to whatever is at the plateau of our priorities and controls our passion. Since God is a Spirit and we must worship Him in Spirit and truth, it is important to understand, acknowledge, and connect with Him in a realm much deeper than this natural dimension or He will remain a boring religious idea on our list of respect and admiration. Generally speaking we are usually not even aware of Him until we need a miracle and whether we receive it or not, we allow Him to fade away from our thoughts until we need Him again.
We have heard that “everyone has to serve somebody.” And this is just a way of saying that whatever captures our heart and absorbs our continual focused attention usually becomes our most passionate desire. The human race is “blessed” to have been equipped with this “standard option” within the depths of our conscience, and it can be used for good. However, at the same time if we allow our mind to follow our old nature, it can cause an imbalanced obsession within our conscience, and this is where something seemingly innocent can become an idol. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16) This deception explains why many have never considered the fact that worship is not exclusively connected to a spiritual deity, but there are many other objects where someone can channel their devotion other than the one and only true God of the Bible. Let us look at the definition of worship; “a homage or reverence paid to a deity – the acts, rites, or ceremonies of worship – adoration or devotion comparable religious homage shown toward a person or principal (like the worship of wealth) – honor, respect, veneration, reverence, esteem, exaltation, admiration, to extol, admire, glorify, magnify, and praise.” (The Oxford Dictionary – American Edition) So, we can see that worship is an expression of our deep passionate feelings toward something or someone and is the communication of our love toward what we think the most highly of.
I am not trying to imply that I have cornered the market on understanding all there is to know about worship or the mysteries and secrets of heaven. This is just a small collection of my thoughts and experiences and a selection of scriptures that can hopefully give us a broader perspective about worship and how the awareness of His presence can “enhance” our personal relationship with God. I have come to the realization through the years that in the broad spectrum of experiences around the world, I have actually seen very little (and in being honest with myself) this humbly reminds me that I know only a fraction about the spiritual realm. I can relate to the scripture in I Corinthians 13:11, that says, “For now we see through a glass DARKLY; but then face to face: now I know in PART; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” As the “school” of Christian living is a daily classroom and God as our professor, we seek Him and believe in faith that someday we will understand the many things that now we cannot comprehend. I am continually praying that I will increase not only my knowledge – but the expansion of my “understanding” with what I am learning! Selah. Without wisdom, knowledge is just a wonderful collection of facts, and in the Christian life it is not so much what we know but how much we apply. (Can I get a witness?) God’s idea of our destiny is not a religious parade that is filled with rituals and ceremonies but an intimate fellowship that is bonded with Him and our neighbors by the deepest love in the universe. We can only walk this walk when He becomes our highest awareness of admiration.
When Christ is invited and allowed to be the “Lord” of our heart, our offerings and sacrifices to Him become a genuine expression of infatuation. Our praise and gratefulness is like the aroma that comes from the blooming of the rose. In awe of His infinite glory, we bow down to Him with thanksgiving and within the meditation of our soul our tears flow down and we are filled with joy that overflows from a broken and contrite heart. This sweet-smelling incense is released into the throne room of God and is the fragrance of a trusting innocence that longs to crawl into the lap of a loving Father. As His children, we are not worshipping an imaginative fantasy but are reaching out in faith and embracing the substance and evidence of the highest spiritual reality in heaven and earth. He may be invisible in some regards but I can assure you He is all around us and involved with us in more ways than we will ever know. He is real and there is no greater vision or experience than to receive His miracles or feel His security and peace when He “literally” places His arms around us and gently rocks us to sleep.
We can think of many different things that make us happy and feel good but there is nothing that can compare with having a pure heart and being in the presence of His holiness. Worshipping Him is becoming entwined with the one who created us and within this yielding of our will we become soft clay in the hands of the Potter that brings the highest elevation of euphoria within our spirit that we can know. If you have not given Christ all of your heart, it is my prayer that you will seek His face and allow His truth to penetrate and open the eyes of your soul. He will lead you and teach you everything you will need to know about being His child and the depths of spiritual intimacy. Reach out to Him now in simple childlike faith and ask Him to forgive you and fill you with His love. Any of us can have as much of Him as we want and go as deep with Him as we desire. I encourage you to keep traveling with us as we continue to explore the “bigger picture” of what salvation really means and our privilege to worship Him and give Him our love for He is truly worthy. “And Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Mathew 22: 37)
So we see the attributes of praise and worship but let us begin to build on how we express our feelings to Him. How do we worship? Is it music? Does praise need instruments and singing? Does worship need to be in a church? Well, this may seem elementary, but I honestly believe that many Christians have never really thought about worship or received instruction concerning these spiritual truths about how or why giving Him adoration should be a “normal” attribute of our daily lifestyle. I have been in many services throughout the years and it is not unusual for people to just stand there and roll their eyes as if they are bored to tears. Yet, these are the same people who the night before were seen screaming, jumping and crying for their favorite sports team. Why is that? There are several reasons but one is that in the natural realm they can actually SEE and know what is happening and in turn they are “responding” to it. Whether it is waxing a vintage automobile, or displaying a cabinet of trophies or lusting after the opposite sex, it is the visual that tempts us and ensnares our desires. Since God is a Spirit – me must connect with Him through our spirit or we will never have a spiritual experience with Him. If He is “out of sight” in our life, He is also “out of mind” so to speak, and this is why He remains at the bottom of our priority list. Even for those who go to church, we usually do not recognize His presence or see the manifestations and demonstrations of His power so again we are left with only the normal routine of singing some songs, hearing a prayer and a lecture, shaking some hands and going home. The problem with this mentality is there is not a spiritual “vision” or an expectation of faith within the heart and this religious activity becomes that of a “spectator”. The Christian that is serious about their walk with God must learn to HEAR with their spiritual ears and SEE with their spiritual eyes in order to become a “participator” not only in the church but in the Christian life! Worship needs no songs, instruments, music or beautiful stained glass buildings. Worship does not even need a voice if the voice is unable to speak for it is within the heart that God can see and know its intentions. All that is used to demonstrate worship are only enhancements to include with our communication. Worship is definitely not a performance because that is all about the glory of talent and the ability of the flesh. Many have used the stage and the power of music to swell their ego and help them gain fame and popularity. The pride in the heart of people has diminished the spiritual anointing of many who began their ministries with right motives but they learned to love the attention and started to believe the applause was for them. Worship is very simple like prayer, but is a battle of spiritual warfare within the soul that must become our highest priority. Until our desire to worship Him becomes greater than our apathy to ignore Him we will never do it! There is no higher expression of worship than to tell God – I love you. All of our songs, books, poems and sermons are just millions of different ways to say these three words.
It is such a peace and feeling of awe to recognize the power of His person and the love and beauty of His presence and these opportunities to experience the heavenly bliss and glorious mysteries of the spiritual realm are true – but not without conditions. You have heard of His unconditional love but that does not mean His truth is not without the perfect principals of His character. Of course our heavenly Father is filled with compassion and desires that everyone reach out by faith and embrace Him but His Word CANNOT compromise His divine integrity and holiness. The more pure and holy we are – the closer we can live with Him but the more filled with carnality we choose to be, the more distant we find ourselves from Him. Why? Because we are to live in relation to HIS “standards” and not in accordance to our human intelligence and presumption. So, what does all this have to do with worship? Well, it would be useless to tell about how glorious it is to live around His throne without explaining HOW this can happen. It would not be revealing the entire truth if we failed to mention that the life of freedom and contentment in His presence is conditional upon our sanctification. It is sin that keeps our spiritual eyes closed and the heart darkened. It is intentional rebellion that takes us away from Him and refuses to abandon our will. It is our old carnal nature that refuses to let go of our self-centered independence and this is opposite of the yielding and submission that is required to worship Him in spirit and truth. These sins of arrogance are the foundations of religious lukewarm attitudes and will prevent us from going any closer than the outer courts.
If we are easily distracted and deceived by the control of our flesh, the odds are against us to be in the “position” to ever enjoy the blessings that come with walking in His Spirit. Furthermore, when we allow our conscience to become hard and dry with carnal lusts, we lose the spiritual sensitivity that is needed to hear His voice and demonstrate His character. We must become like little children through repentance for our sins and forgiveness to everyone else so that we can establish a close personal relationship with Him. As His Word becomes saturated into our thoughts, our mind experiences a renewal and this literally changes the way we think and act. Transforming us in every way is the reason why He came died and rose from the dead, and in turn we must die to our old self in order to have this brand new lifestyle. We have heard that we can be washed in His blood but how often do we focus on this blood as a “covenant” He made with whosoever will believe in Him and trust Him as their Lord. Within His heavenly vision of wanting to become our Master are His commandments and requirements for us to be His servants and this is where the Christian life goes from the religious deception of doing whatever WE want to the spiritual reality of doing whatever HE wants. These are some of the foundations for worship which explains why very few are interested.
Allow me to ask you a question; have you ever been in the presence of God? Well, brother I think so, I’m not sure, how would I know? Well, if you have been born again, your spirit is from and is directly connected to Him. This is the relationship between the spirit of the child and the Spirit of the Father. In elementary terms this is why He is referred to as our Father and we are called His children. When we pray, meditate and confess His Word and worship our heavenly Father, we can sense the presence of His person because we are washed in the blood of His Son and now we have that “blood” relation. It is awesome to know that if we are walking through the forest or on the beach, we can feel that He is there. Wherever we are He has promised that He is with us! We may not be able to see Him but when we are born-again He not only transforms our spirit but literally moves into our heart where He desires to rule and reign. In this light, we realize that it is easy for Him to speak to us and influence our mind from the “INSIDE”, unfortunately this is where free-will comes into play and most of the time our old nature is so strong it will not permit our mind to listen for His voice. If it was up to our mind to decide when we worship – we never would. It is only the determination of the transformed mind that receives the message from the new born spirit that it wants to be with God and obey whatever He is saying. We are always hearing about being “filled” with God’s Holy Spirit, but in order for that to happen we must empty our heart of all the garbage and selfishness. Without this “infusion” of The Holy Spirit there is no anointing, power or fervent excitement to be committed to fulfilling the destiny He has designed for us. It is only when we lay down our will and embrace HIS will that our life will ignite with His fire and breathe the breath of His presence. There is only room for one king upon the throne of our conscience and we will decide in our heart who it will be. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)
Until a person receives the revelation of learning how to walk and abide in God’s Spirit, they will step right past Jesus and never recognize Him. It takes spiritual antennas that are up and the transmitter must be dialed on the right station in order to pick up the channel clearly. We have not been trained to pray before we go to bed and when we arise in order to get on the same page with God’s will. We have not been taught to pray before we go to church so that we can receive God’s Word and be used as a blessing to someone who may need our ministry. How many pray for the pastor, the worship leader, the musicians, or the teachers before they even enter into the church door? How many go expecting for God to perform a miracle or that souls would be saved and how many pray that faith will ARISE within the congregation so that a Holy Ghost fire of repentance, renewal, zeal and dedication will burst forth? If we go in with no expectation and no confession of faith, we are getting exactly what we anticipating. Allow me to ask you, if Jesus Himself miraculously appeared and stood at the podium on a Sunday morning, how would you react? Would you just sit there, would you applaud Him, would you go up and shake His hand? Just to stretch our imagination, what is going to be your response when this life is over and you meet Him face to face? Will you embrace Him, will you fall at His feet and tell Him how wonderful he is and how worthy He is to receive all worship, love and glory? Number one; He is all around us all the time and we are not worshipping Him like we should. Number two; if we are not on our face bowing before Him now, what makes us presume we are going to do it then? Do we really think there will be complaining in heaven because it is tiring to stand up so long or that the music is too loud or that we need to leave so that we can get a good seat at the restaurant? Like we said, some of our lethargic attitude is because we do not acknowledge Him and are not aware of Him; another reason is that we are NOT as much in love with Him as we think. Selah.
I pray this series will be just another stepping stone in your pathway toward knowing God more intimately and may your journey be filled with the wonders of worshipping Him in the presence of His Majesty.
“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before our maker. For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.” (Psalm 95:6-7)