Yesterday was a great day. If there was ever a day I needed encouragement, it was yesterday. I’ve just finished my last week of classes, and now I’m getting ready for my four finals. In a week, I’ll be out of Tallahassee and on vacation, graduated from college. I’ll be away from my church and have a seriously reduced field of accountability. Every time in the past three years, vacation has been a time of backsliding for me. This time is going to be different, by God’s grace. That’s where yesterday comes in.
Yesterday, my worship pastor gave the sermon at church. It was about worship, of course. I think he did a great job communicating God’s heart for us. It was definitely a message I needed to hear, especially in my time of impending change. Here’s the main point: we were made to worship. We are designed by God to worship Him.
First point: posture. Biblical worship begins with Lordship. To begin to worship, we must first acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. Until we do that, until we come to Him humbly, with the right heart, we cannot truly worship Him. God is our King, not our homeboy. We must come before Him in awe of His majesty, in obedience to the Holy Spirit. Worship is not a once-a-week event. Woship is a constant attitude and lifestyle of submission to the One Holy God.
Second point: pain. Biblical worship will bring revelation and repentance. If you are in the presence of God, He will change you. If you sit in the sun for five hours, you can expect your skin to be burned. When you sit in the presence of the God of the universe, expect to be changed drastically. God will produce the character and discipline in us that He wants us to have, as long as we are living to worship Him. It may be painful much of the time, that coming to terms with the sinful nature, but what is produced in us is so much greater than what is lost.
Third point: power. Biblical worship produces power. When we come before the King, humbly, allowing the process of purification, the result is change. The fruit of worship is change. The power of God is given to those purified ones. Isaiah, when in the presence of God, could do nothing but worship Him. He was purified by fire. The end result of this experience? Power. Isaiah declared boldly in response to God’s call, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:1-8 )
I believe this vacation starting next week will be a time of testing for me. Can I continue to seek after God in the presence of so many distractions? I have faith that I will. Can I continue to live responsibly when my surroundings are discouraging it? I must have that faith to press on. Can I worship and pray continually, when the world is competing for my attention? I pray that it will be so. This is a test, and if I am faithful with the small things, God will entrust me with even greater responsibility. If I want to break out of a pattern of mediocrity, I must give God my heart. I love this verse:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:1-2