When you come before me, who ever gave you the idea of acting like this, Running here and there, doing this and that— all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship? “Quit your worship charades. I can’t stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings— meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You’ve worn me out! I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. Go home and wash up. Clean up your act.” Isaiah 1:12-16a (The Message)
As I read these verses last week, Jeff shared with me he was preaching on “worship” and I immediately thought how timely these scriptures are, so I shared them with him. The message he preached Sunday was so clear, and well…raw, in regards to our personal, everyday worship. Worship is a lifestyle, not an every 7 days attending a church. It drew my thoughts to my own worship, and what it reflects to those around me, not to mention, how it pleases my Father God. How often has my lifestyle of worship produced a stink, or been a distraction, to those around me. I say that, not to speak of how I personally demonstrate worship corporately or in my own quiet time with the Lord, but rather, is my life characterized by worship?
How about you? Have you thought about whether you are lifting up, or tripping up, those in your area of influence? As Jeff talked about Sunday, is your worship born out of passion, as the woman who poured out her costly perfume on Jesus’ feet? She absolutely laid it all out, everything she had, to offer praise for the One she loved the most. She was a woman who had every reason to be insecure and guarded in her praise, but she gave everything. Her worship COST her something! Is your worship costing you anything…your pride, your own insecurity, stares from others, any sacrifice? A lifestyle of worship is costly.
I probably love this next part the most, because it most reflects how I feel about my life right now. A lifestyle of worship is free and unhindered. I can remember feeling stuck and immensely fake in my worship. So often I had the right answers, right discipline, but very little rightness of heart! My worship only popped up on Sundays, and my everyday was characterized by me, me, me. In essence, it didn’t cost me a thing, and it certainly didn’t stretch me. It fit in a nice box, which at times wasn’t even so nice, and my days were spent in the doldrums. Why? Where I was in my relationship with Christ had everything to do with where I was in my worship of Him. I simply, and ashamedly, wasn’t worshiping Him! Jeff quoted Emerson in his message Sunday. Emerson, a theist, with belief there is a God, but no recognition that God gave a Son to us in Jesus. Yet, Emerson, hit the nail on the head when you ponder your own personal worship. He said,
“The Gods we worship write their names on our faces; be sure of that. And a man will worship something … That which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming.”
Who, or what, is written on your face? Is your life defined by worshiping the One who has given us His everything, His very own Son as a love gift to us? Or, is your life reflecting a life of worshiping a what? I entitled this post, “Oops, I Tripped…Over You.” So often the impact we make, or don’t make on lives is a good indicator of where we put our worship. Are you tripping up others, or better yet, are you tripping over your own self? The most important love gift I could ever give you is to share with you to allow your worship of Him define you! In the moments of fear of sickness, or accusations, trials, pressure to be what Others want you to be, and even in the times of peace and victory, is your worship defining Whom it is you love? God says in Isaiah 1:16a, “Go home and clean up your act.” Need a re-start? He is just the One to give it to you! Change your life today that everything you do, everything you are, points to the One worthy of all worship and praise. What’s it gonna cost you?