Barb's Space

Observations about life, family, church...anything else that is on my mind from the perspective that God rules, no matter what

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Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States

I am a 65 year young woman who has changed much in the last few years. I'm single again. I changed jobs twice (learned new skills), had a serious stroke in 2008, "retired" and after getting better started taking up new interests, and am continuing to get more fit. Some things have matured. I've enjoyed watching my three guys grow into men I respect and am proud of. One waited 11 years to have his first birth child. Today I'm a grandma of six (four boys and 2 girls between two families)! I have learned to love Jesus even more, and I have regained my sense of adventure. Someone said, "The best is yet to be."--I believe it, if I keep an open mind and heart and keep growing and walking with God.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wasted Worship, or Wasted Worship? Part 2

I said in my last post that it would be a good idea to take a look at worship--what it is, and its expressions. Before I do, I want to review the dictionary definitions I am working from:

[from WordReference.com Adapted from:WordNet 2.0 Copyright 2003 by Princeton University All rights reserved.]

wor-ship
Etymology: Middle English
worshipe worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being, from Old English weorthscipe worthiness, respect, from weorth worthy, worth + -scipe -ship

2: reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also: an act of expressing such reverence
3: a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual
4: extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem
<worship of the dollar>

To really do #2 in my definition, my first consideration would be, what is the correct mind-and-heart-set from which all true worship that is suitable for this God flows?

To really worship, I must be on the same page with God, agreeing with Him about Who He says He is. That is the very first element of worship. To keep it from just being superficial intellectual assent, however, I must learn to know this God as Paul says in Acts 17:22-31, receive His sacrifice for me, and count His opinion about my everyday life as more important than any other, including my own. That attitude will change my whole perspective on life in general, and specifically my life, which will affect my actions and responses day by day, which will in turn affect the outcome.

If I really believe, as He says, that His ways are beyond me and my understanding, then to adopt them sincerely means first acknowledging, then laying down my ideas about everything and learning to think and feel and do as He would in any given situation. In doing this, I am actively admitting first of all that my whole life, every area, was influenced by the original fall into sin and rebellion against God. Secondly I am admitting that my whole life has also been distorted by my own personal sin. I am saying that my own mind, will and emotions, while very real, cannot follow God by themselves because I am so distorted.

On the other hand, once I've made those admissions (confessions), I am acknowledging that the picture really isn't that dark--I have hope. I am saying that my life can be different, that it can be more and more restored to the pattern that God intended and further, that this is what I want and am aiming for. Each day, moment by moment as I am giving God access to my life, I recognize that each situation that comes up is another opportunity to learn more of my God's ways and thoughts. It's another opportunity to allow Him to restore me and make me whole.

You say that way of following God (it's also called surrender or dying to self--the distorted, sinful self) sounds a little extreme? God says anything less is half-hearted, polluted worship, also called in the Bible "strange fire." In the Old Testament, the penalty for rewriting (distorting) God or His rules or principles was death (see Leviticus 9:23-10:4), sometimes physical and sometimes spiritual as with the Pharisees who chose not to repent.

In the New Testament, Jesus died in my place for my sin (He could because He was the One and Only who walked through every kind of temptation we humans have experienced and did not sin). The penalty of death has been removed if I receive what He did for me. In receiving Him and His work on my behalf, I begin to give Him access to my life.
I become no longer me-born-into-sin, but me-acceptable-and-righteous because I have turned (repented) from my ways and now want His. I receive His robe of righteousness (Is 61:10), and as I walk with Him day-in and day-out, He will change me. Eventually, if He's left to work unhindered, His redemption begins to affect every part of me. This is where eternal life starts--the point at which I receive Him--not when I get to heaven; it just continues there. God says through Paul in the book of Romans that living life daily with this attitude is true worship:

Rom 12:1-2 NLT: And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind He will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? [NIV says here, "...this is your spiritual act of worship."] 2Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.

True worship begins here, with submission, total submission in heart which will eventually show in my life. I am not a robot. God will not force this kind of life on me. It is my choice, but without it, my worship is wasted, or at best very limited. But I like to imagine what my life will look like if I continually desire to walk in this attitude. As we read above, Romans 12 says I will be transformed into a new person, I'll know what God wants me to do, and I will know how good His will really is. This is definition #4 above
: extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem. This is the subject of part 3--the other half of "wasted" worship.

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