Worship: Draw Near.

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;

    my soul thirsts for you;

my flesh faints for you,

    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,

    beholding your power and glory.

Because your steadfast love is better than life,

    my lips will praise you.

So I will bless you as long as I live;

    in your name I will lift up my hands.

 

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,

    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,

when I remember you upon my bed,

    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

for you have been my help,

    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

My soul clings to you;

    your right hand upholds me.

 

But those who seek to destroy my life

    shall go down into the depths of the earth;

they shall be given over to the power of the sword;

    they shall be a portion for jackals.

But the king shall rejoice in God;

    all who swear by him shall exult,

    for the mouths of liars will be stopped.” 

-Psalm 63

I think that there is a reason God calls David “a man after my own heart.” His worship was radical and full! HIs heart both uplifted by the gracious love of a awesome Father and undone by disbelief that he was chosen. The church has begun to lose this sense of bewilderment through the ages. Religion has taken over relationship. Stoic boredom has stolen the seat of active revolution. There is a beautiful place for reverence in the body, but I don’t think the Lord is calling us to be a church that is unattractive. Holy Spirit does shift and move the hearts of individuals in every moment, so shouldn’t we at least invite them into true family?

Here is what I think has happened. We have fallen away from a lifestyle of worship. We have refused to center our lives around strictly serving Jesus. More importantly, we have allowed our congregational relationship with Jesus to replace our personal relationship with Jesus. Just entering into worship on Sunday with community and family is not a lifestyle set apart and consecrated to the greater things of the Kingdom. If we look at the early church, these people learned together, lived together, ate together, oftentimes shared all resources and leaned on one another. If you are an individual who lives a lifestyle like that of the early church, then you are likely doing well in this department. 

But, we aren’t. 

Not in every moment at least! 

There is a missing part to our true relationship with Jesus.

    “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22

It is finished. Therefore, we have the opportunity to draw near to the throne of grace. We get to ask Jesus, Abba Father and Holy Spirit all to come close. Holy Spirit is so close that He dwells inside of us. The indwelling of a perfect being helping to shape us and mold us. He is the refining fire within our hearts.

Jesus wants us to call upon Him! He wants us to know Him better. And just like in any relationship, we need to spend time with those we want to know better. It isn’t rocket science. However, if we are going to be a people so set on seeing relationship with the God of the universe rise above our selfish worldly desires, then we need to practice worshipping as individuals. We need to become the worship leaders of our lives! We need to see that the most important place of reverence in our lives is when we set aside our busy schedule to do the most important thing that we can do, spend time with Jesus.

There isn’t a wrong or right way to do this. There isn’t a daily time limit. There isn’t a three step process to “how to spend more time with Jesus.” We need to recognize that the conviction of Holy Spirit within us is what guides us. We can tell when things are dry. We can tell when we haven’t been digging into scripture. We can tell when busyness has become an idol in our hearts and lives! The most important thing we can do is obediently listen to the guidance of Holy Spirit. 

John 10 reminds us, Jesus is our shepherd. He wants to guide us. He wants to point us in the right direction. So much so that HE wrote it out for us to refer to. And at the end of the day, if we can hear Him, shouldn’t we listen?

    “Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:25-30. 

The Good Shepherd is only doing what the Father is doing. That is what we want to be doing! 

So take a second and listen today. Stop and spend some time with Jesus. Press into taking the next step towards becoming the worship leader of your life! Pursue a genuine relationship with Jesus complete with quality time. Have you ever considered that God’s favorite “love language” might be quality time?

     “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

From this place our true identity pours forth. When we know the Father, we are known by the Father and we can become more and more like Him! Our heart’s desires begin to look like Jesus’ desires. We long for Kingdom change and not earthly desires. Sitting in the presence of the Almighty, shifts our very being to its core because we are once again returning to our original design, just like in the garden!