God’s Thoughts to Me
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men” (Matthew 15:8-9, NIV).
But the time is coming – indeed it’s here right now- when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, NLT).
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after
So Far Away from Me
In 1985 Dire Straights released their album, Brothers in Arms, with the hit song, So Far Away. Poetry through music, according to me!!!
Whenever their lead singer, Mark Knopfler, laments his loneliness, shivers of delight run up and down my spine! “I’m tired of being in love and being so alone when you’re so far away from me”.
These words from the song capture the heart of our Pappa when Isaiah brought His message to the Israelites about His distaste for the farce of their religious show and pretense.
He informed them through Amos that He was tired of their religious festivals and solemn assemblies.
He refused to accept any of their offerings and sacrifices or to listen to their noisy hymns of praise (Amos 5:22-23). Our Pappa turned a deaf ear to their prayers for their hearts were so far away from Him.
Another peculiar thing has surfaced amongst the churches nowadays: Praise and Worship teams to lead the congregation into the presence of our God!
In many instances, these bands have become the main feature or attraction to lure people into joining the congregation.
But we read in Hebrews and 1 Timothy that there is only one mediator between man and his God, and it is definitely not Peter, Paul, Mary, the Pope or the pastor.
Our Lord Jesus has not abdicated His position to anyone or anything. He is the Narrow Gate, the Way and the Truth, the only One who can usher us into the presence of our Pappa.
I recall the words of a youth pastor friend of mine on how the worship leaders know which set of notes to play just before the altar call.
Apparently this specific octave has the ability and great potential to manipulate the minds of the congregants and stir up their emotions.
As I was pondering the act of worship, I was heartbroken to see how so many have cheapened this holy act of love.
I knew I had to find the true meaning of Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman at the well about the kind of worship that would bring joy to our Pappa’s heart.
Worship and praise have become like Jack and Jill, hoping to draw living water from the Fountain of Life by going up the hill of the modern interpretation of praise and worship. We all know that they, together with their empty bucket, tumbled down this hill.
Religious worship is totally self-centered and focuses on the worshiper’s actions and experiences.
It is bound by time, place and all the different procedures involved. This kind of worship is defined by what we do and plays along in the game of humanism.
We gather together in the parameters of a program, a place and time … we sing … we pray … we listen … we give … we serve.
We do and do and do and do some more. This is truly a do-it-yourself kind of worship experience!
When we look at true Christian worship, we find it totally the opposite of what we have become accustomed to.
Worship in spirit and in truth is a daily lifestyle where we always express the “worth-ship” of our Pappa’s character through an intimate bond of love between two kindred spirits.
As we allow our Lord Jesus to worship our Pappa by His Spirit of Truth by living His life in and through us, He enables us to love our Pappa with total abandon, unashamed, unbound and totally free.
This is the mystery Paul spoke about to the Colossians; God’s mysterious plan which is Christ Himself (Colossians 2:2).
Religious worship has taken the “in spirit and in truth” part and replaced it with things like emotion and mind … enthusiasm and orthodoxy.
Of this kind of worship A.W. Tozer wrote in the 19th century, “We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inward to meet God in adoring silence … I wonder if spiritual worship was ever at a lower ebb.”
I know I am taking the risk of being misunderstood and want to clarify my argument. I am not against beautiful gospel music; in fact, I love it.
I am not against a band playing when saints assemble together in the unity of the Spirit … there where everyone is captured by the beauty and love of our God … there where every heart is closely knitted to our Lord Jesus.
Dear Ones, let each one examine her own heart and cease from man-centered religious worship.
Let us learn from a dear old saint, Brother Lawrence, who explained this mystery of worship of our everyday life, as the moment-by-moment privilege of practising His presence.
Much love and sweet blessings xx