Personal worship has been on my mind today. When challenges and unsettling life events happen, the temptation is to lose our daily intimacy with the Saviour. To get our minds on things around us, and in so doing, lose the focus of centering our mind and heart on Jesus. I face this temptation. You face this temptation. We all face this temptation.
Yet no matter which of us faces unsettling events, the challenge is not to allow some concern to displace Christ’s preeminence in our heart and mind. We must remember Whenever we are not giving God the moment, we are putting something in front of Him. To serve Him completely is always in the now!!!
I used to walk around feeling like something was wrong, when there was nothing really to be concerned about. I remember repeatedly not being able to decide what this inner disturbance was. I discovered if I couldn’t decide what it was, most frequently nothing was really wrong. And the anxiety was useless and a lack of trust in God. ……1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Philippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Matt 6:31-34 (RSV) “So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ (These are the things the heathen are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead, be concerned above everything else with his Kingdom and with what he requires,”
Phil 4:6-7 “Don’t worry over anything whatever; whenever you pray tell God every detail of your needs in thankful prayer, and the peace of God, which surpasses human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.” …..
Coming to the realization that God will keep us in inner peace if we let Him was a great strategy and lesson. It’s been very effective to produce peace and greater well-being in my mind. Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
The needful exception to not paying attention to some unsettled feeling, is if your heart is trying to tell you you’re not really putting Christ first and foremost. In that case, you need to pay attention to the inner signal and allow Christ to become your highest priority. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” Mt:6:33 is an ongoing and continual need. We never outgrow it and we never get Beyond it.”
So in one of those moments earlier today, when I had this unsettled feeling. It had happened several times; so I felt like I needed to pray about it. I literally stopped my day and got still and said Lord Jesus help me draw closer to You. Lord, please draw closer to me. Lord remove from me anything that is displeasing to You. Lord help me open up my heart fully and want Your will above my will. Lord I need You. Lord I want You. Lord I admit my need and that my life is incomplete without You. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit.
As I prayed this prayer I felt the most amazing restoration and wholeness in my heart, mind and life. And I sensed that the answer I was seeking was already on the inside of me. And I just needed God to refresh and renew me, to be able to see it.
Psalm 51:10 (KJV) 10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
I was reminded that eight years ago when I was freed from one of the worst problems of my life, that I embraced Step 1 of the 12 steps of a very special recovery program. And that was the admission of need… And admitting that I could not solve my own life problems, without help from God was the secret that I needed to move forward.
That is why throughout the New Testament, it is the humble and the contrite that find the abundance of God’s mercy. That is why it is the lowly and the broken, whom most often find Healing from on High. It was the prayer of the prostrate sinner, not the pompous declaration of the self-righteous Pharisee that gained the attention of God. Somehow knowing our need for God is in fact the liberating, healing solvent that opens up the stopped up conduit of our soul, to receive the refreshing flow of God’s Spirit into our thirsty hearts.
I hate to be so graphic. But sometimes when a drain is stopped up; you literally have to take some type of mechanical device and open the channel. Sometimes our hearts need that too. We have to literally, vocally, out loud, open up and ask God to move in a refreshing and cleansing way in our life.
Sometimes we get stopped up. And just thinking the thoughts are not enough, by themselves. We need a mechanical intervention. We have to say literally ask God to come with His Heavenly, holy and anointing power to mightily bring us back into the amazing, restorative Presence and flow of His Holy Spirit. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” In 1:12
You see that’s the biggest problem we have sometimes. We want to do it in our own power. But our power is not enough. We need an intervention. We need God’s Higher Power of intervention moving in our life. It takes that to keep the channel open and our hearts free and liberated. So that His Spirit can use us, to do things greater than we could do in our own abilities. Corinthians 2:4 King (KJV) “4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:”
Acts 1:8 (NLT) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
So for me, personal worship must be more than recalling a memory verse, or saying a good saying, or repeating words. If I’m not really opening up my heart and mind and asking Christ to take over the inner direction of my life, then it is just surfacy and not the meaningful worship that God wants it to be.
Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT)
16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Now that is real personal worship. May God help us get real with Him today. And allow Him to be real in us, in the now! Pastor Tim-