For decades now, in my teaching and preaching I advocate that we should go to worship God even if we don’t feel like it. “It is in the times we don’t feel like worshiping that we need to worship the most.” Yep, that’s what this preacher said. Well, to be honest, this morning I did not want to worship God in my private time of worship because, well, I just didn’t feel like it. And to be even brutally honest, I don’t know that I feel like it right now.
I could blame this feeling right now on the fact I had just stacked 2 large stacks of firewood that had fallen over. But the reasons go much deeper, and I am not going to bore you with all the details of what is going on inside me in this time. If I did, I would sound like a whiner, and whiners are a pitiful and pathetic lot. So I’m just not going there and be like “them”. (I think I just heard some of you readers breathe a sigh of relief!)
To give you a view of my early morning disciplined habit, go back to a previous blog called Assumptions. This morning I filled up my coffee cup (Praise God who inspired that native so long ago who roasted, grounded, and poured hot water through those beans!), put in my earbuds, looked at my Spotify app, and honestly, I just didn’t want to start it. But then I remembered that crazy preacher who said, “It is in the times we don’t feel like worshiping that we need to worship the most.” Oh, well; time to practice what I preach. If I don’t, I am just another Churchian or Tenured Pew Sitter. If I ever become one of them, I hope someone still loves me enough to give me a good ol’ Leroy Jethro Gibbs slap on the back of the head.
Now, did my mind and attitude change instantly? Absolutely. NOT! But I pushed through it, keeping my focus on God. Now, was this the best way to worship God? Absolutely NOT! Jesus said it’s about worshiping in Spirit and in Truth. I was worshiping truthfully. I just didn’t feel like it, but I did it anyway. Somehow I think that God is pleased with my worship this morning, though it wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination, my best offering. But, it reflects where I am, much like David reflected in Psalm 13:1-2 (NLT)
O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Had God forgotten David? Had God been looking the other way, His face turned away from David? Has God forgotten Randy? Is God looking the other way, His face turned away from Randy? The answer to all 4 questions is…..NO! NO! NO! NO! But it sure does feel like it, and David must have felt it to. Otherwise, why did he write such a worship song? And for you who may also be struggling with mine and David’s feelings, the answer for you is EMPHATICALLY, NO! He hasn’t forgotten us and He hasn’t turned away from us.
Somehow this morning, a morning I am really struggling, that perhaps God is more pleased with this act of reluctant worship than any other act of worship I have offered since I began this spiritual discipline. HE certainly deserves better, but I now believe that God is pleased with my “It’s the best I can do right now” worship. What? Oh, I just heard some Churchians and Tenured Pew Sitters say, “You’re wrong, wrong, wrong! Give me a Bible verse to back up your blasphemous claim.” OK Churchians and Tenured Pew Sitters, remember that you asked for it.
In Luke 18:9-14 you will find the story Jesus told of a Pharisee and a Tax Collector who went to encounter God in the Temple. The Pharisee was full of himself and his perceived goodness and made the point he wasn’t like that Tax Collector. The Pharisee was NOT honest. On the other hand, the Tax Collector was brutally honest. He presented himself to God in worship as he really was–a sinner! Gee whiz, he didn’t even worship in the right position. His head was down when it should have been up. And in response to these 2 acts of worship (one correct in form but not in substance; the other wrong in form but correct in substance), Jesus says this: “I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Verse 14)
And in this act painfully honest worship, this is what The Holy Spirit taught me and said to me: “Sing it until you believe it!” Here is the song that was coming through my earbuds in this epiphany: 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. So, I am going to keep on singing it until I believe it!
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way God loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to HIM!