DELIBERATELY PURSUING GOD
THE INTENTIONS OF THE HEART
At times we have tried to figure out why God’s Spirit does not move like we envision it should in the church. We have felt the coldness and the apathy and thought about why God’s presence was quenched and the Holy Spirit was hindered but are dead services always the result of God’s people not being prepared and not taking their Christian responsibility seriously? How many negative forces does it take to have a gloomy effect on a congregation? Does the level of God’s power in the service have anything to do with how anointed the leaders are? What causes heaviness in the atmosphere and a seemingly weary, sluggish attitude? Maybe the church is not worshipping God because they do not have a clear conscience. Could this be why those who are not used to worshipping God in private intimacy are uncomfortable being free in church? If the spirit man is thirsty and excited to worship God and pride will not allow him do it – then the flesh being in control is causing the individual (and possibly the church) to be distant and lukewarm.
It is true that we can worship and give honor to God by singing songs but we also must remember that all who sing worship songs are not always worshipping. The same goes for those who are used in the gifts because all who speak out loud are not necessarily always in the Spirit and can fall into religious acts that are done out of trying to help God or just wanting to be seen. Let’s look at a few examples; just because people can sing loud or in key does not mean they are spiritually connected with what they are singing or even thinking about God. It might just mean they are trying to perform. Or some might make a point to brag about how much money they give in the offering because they want the power, authority, recognition and favor. And just because people can teach or preach does not mean they are the best choice to use in church ministry – because their heart may only be focused on their own glory. What about those who strive to be a board member, elder or deacon – not because they want to serve God’s people but because they love to be in control. Here is a another one; the Bible mentions about people who love to pray long prayers in public because sometimes they are just putting on a show or how the ones who are fasting want to show everyone how spiritual they are. These words are from Jesus Himself found in Mathew 6: 1-5
“Take heed that you do not give offerings before men, to be seen of them: otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when you give do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But when you give, let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing: That your alms may be in secret: and your Father which sees in secret himself shall reward you openly. And when you pray, you will not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.” And verse 7; “But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking.” It’s not who, what or how much – but why.
Unfortunately many church members limit their personal worship experience to singing a few songs in a corporate church service each week because they have come to visit God in His house. They have planned their days and set aside a couple of hours to associate themselves with others and attend a religious program that in their own mind has earned them another ribbon of righteousness. But if this is the extent of anyone’s personal spiritual life then obviously they have never really had the “revelation” of Him being the Lord of their life. We are not to completely plan our life and then squeeze Him into our schedule – but rather we submit to abiding in His Spirit which is a lifestyle! Serious Christians will prepare their heart with prayer before they enter the sanctuary as they connect with Christ and His unified body. “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us not cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:11-12)
Sadly, I believe many people are wearing a mask in church. We learn at a very early stage in our life that – we can appear to be something we are not because no one really knows what we are thinking. We learn how to adapt and say the right things as a form of manipulation yet conceal our real thoughts and feelings. Why and how do little innocent children choose to lie? Because when they learn their actions will result in serious consequences their conscience has a “built in” escape hatch called – deception. No matter how many times we hear that God can see through our heart as clear as crystal we still convince ourselves that halfway clean is good enough. The “double deception” is that while people are playing head games with everyone else they fail to realize they have been deceived by the very same demonic spirit. Being deceived is believing you are a certain way but not knowing what you really are.
Going through the motions of religion has never impressed God. “Because you say, I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing; but you do not see that you are actually wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire so you may be rich; and white raiment that you might be clothed and that the shame of your nakedness will not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye medicine, that you may see.” Revelation 3:17-18
Worshipping God is all about recognizing His holiness and those who are His followers will not just pretend to be holy. And, can I ask another question with all sincerity; what is happening to sanctification? Somehow the idea, (that it does not matter what the condition of our heart is when we worship The Lord) has leaked into our religious world views and philosophies. The enemy has quietly crept into our field at night and sown tares of false security into our thinking. He knows the more we flood our senses with the voices and images of the spirit of this age the more we can argue and justify the way we live within our conscience. Minds and hearts filled with lust, anger, lying, perversion, resentment, envy, hate and witchcraft cannot find harmony and the peace of God which is the foundation of spiritual worship. This “new age” church culture is turning more to entertainment and the feel good experience that soothes the troubled conscience but is resisting holiness. The chaos and confusion of a heart influenced by demonic suggestion and the carnal desires of undisciplined emotions cannot worship God in spirit and truth. The church must not tolerate blatant sin if it is to preserve its integrity. It is true – it is God’s church and He can take care of it but do we not have the responsibility to discern the impure intentions and counterfeit spirits of darkness? “I am not enough for many of my people anymore! I no longer meet their thirst, nor do I satisfy them now. They have rejected Me as their source; they thirst for another water! They have turned to the lusts of the flesh and the eye and no longer yearn after me.” (David Wilkerson prophecy)