John 3:23-24But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. 24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.Psalm 29:2Give to the LORD the glory due to His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
Everyone is called to worship in spirit and in truth in the beauty of holiness. It is more than the songs we sing. It is our life onto the Lord. Having said that, lets address the songs we do sing. Keep in mind that everything said is spoken in love. The intent is to edify the body of Christ.
To begin, this blog does not call into question anyone's heart or motives. It is a call to awareness.
The are a number praise and worship songs sung in corporate settings. Furthermore, people listen to many of them through various mediums (radio, CDs, Mp3 players, etc.). Question: of those numerous songs, how many of them line up with the word of God? This is important to consider on at least a few levels. There are more than what is presented here. On one level, it pertains to praise and worship leaders in a corporate setting. Yes, this also includes the songwriters. Another pertains to participants and listeners.
In the church setting, before any preparation or practice to lead the song service, does anyone ask the Lord what does He wants done? If Jesus is Lord of all (and He is), then He should be the Lord of the songs we sing. Do we sing certain songs because they're popular in the Christian culture, or because we love the melody? Who are the songs meant to please? Do the lyrics align with Scripture? Have you ever experienced a time when you sang a song and found you could not sing a portion of it, because the lyrics did not line up with the Word?
There is much talk about the unity of the Church. If we are going to worship together as one, we need to be in agreement with God.
We can actually have a consensus of the songs we sing, and still not be in agreement. Ephesians 4:3Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We are supposed to walk in the unity of the Spirit and of the faith. That means true agreement aligns with God. If the lyrics of the songs we sing are contrary to the word of God, how can they be in agreement with Him? It does pay to filter the songs we sing and write through the Bible. That includes the music to which we listen. What we sing or to what we listen can influence our thought life, good or bad.
The point is to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying and compare the music with the Bible. By coming together to agree with Him, we can worship as one Body. It is not about trying to avoid certain songs, especially in a religious sense; it's about being led by the Spirit. Galatians 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Since we have discovered the Father loves us as much as He loves Jesus (John 17:23), it is time for some to allow themselves to be loved. That is, they need to stop resisting the Father's love, whereby they sabotage their life. God's love does not call us to a lesser life than nonbelievers; in fact, it is to be a life more abundant. Yes, we are called to humility, but that does not mean we throw ourselves under the bus. We don't have to feel guilty for being successful in life We cannot afford to hide the gifts of God and stop them from working through us. How does that glorify Him?
Have you granted yourself permission to succeed in life?
Do you think it is a sin to be successful? With that question, some of you immediately thought of money. Even though this is not entirely about money, lets ask the question. Do you think is it a sin to have lots of money? Is it wrong to be rich? Is it unchristian like to be successful in business? How much is too much success? Whatever comes between you and God. Lets reverse the question. How much is too little? Answer: whatever comes between you and God.
What purpose does success serve?
For one thing, it plays a major role in fulfilling the Covenant of God as it relates to the Great Commission. How do we expect to influence the world for the kingdom of God by being less successful than others? Some like to point to Mother Teresa who did not live a life of luxury. Okay, real brief. Do you know that millions of dollars funneled through her ministry to carry out her mission? Money is neutral. It's a thing. Obviously, if we love money, we're in trouble. 1 Timothy 6: 10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. What would happen if someone ran a successful business that employed a bunch of people? Would not that employment help pull them out of poverty? Just giving money to people does not solve their problem. It is possible for believers to influence nonbelievers for Jesus Christ through godly businesses. They might even shape communities for the Kingdom, as a result. If you are gifted in the areas of business and finance, don't repress the gift. See how God wants to use it.
No, this is not a call to start a business. Although, for some it may be. This is a call to grant yourself permission to succeed where ever the Lord places you.
It is time for some to be reprogrammed. You have been programmed to believe you will never amount to anything. As a result, your decisions often sabotage anything good the Father is doing in your life. A loving father does not intentionally wreck his children's life. Our heavenly Father wants to enrich our lives. He is our Daddy -“Abba” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).
Some believe there's a limit of success you should have. Again, the only limit there should be is what comes between you and God. Maybe you need to explore and find out how much farther you can go in life. You may glorify God all the more by doing so.
If you are limiting yourself, and God has not set those limits, you are not living up to your potential. That really is not a good place to be.
It is not a sin to love yourself well. As a matter of fact, God loves you with an everlasting love. You have always been of great worth to Him; otherwise, Jesus would not have purchased you with His blood. Everything God makes is of great worth. He did make you, didn't He? Psalms 139: 14 – 18I will praise You; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Your works; and that my soul knows right well. 15. My substance was not hid from You, when I was made in secret, and curiously worked in the lowest parts of the earth. 16. Your eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in Your book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with You.
If you are going to love others well, you need to grant yourself permission to love yourself. Otherwise, you will tend to treat them poorly because you will want them to treat you poorly. Just a thought.
The Bible clearly states that God is a respecter of none; yet, some don't quite seem to see it that way. They have strange ideas about the nature of God. They actually believe the Father loves some children more than others. Bringing it close to home, some of you believe God loves you less than others. You base that belief on your own thoughts and behavior. You believe His love is dependent on your behavior and thought life. You believe you are less than others, therefore, less deserving of His love. Somewhere, you learned to devalue yourself, and consequently, believe others are more important than you. This means you don't have a clue to God's true nature.
Jesus said the Father loves us as He loves Him (see John 17:23). Think about this, the Father loves us as much as He loves Jesus. If He did not, He would be contradicting His very nature. God is love and everlasting to everlasting. That means His love is constant and unchanging. If He loved Jesus more than us, the Father would be a respecter of persons, but He is not! His love is absolutely beyond amazing. If you believe God's love changes or fluctuates from person to person, then your belief system is corrupt. It leads to hopelessness and a perversion of grace. You will be stuck trying to earn His love and fail to enjoy the relationship with Him. Peace will never ruler in your heart if you do not repent. That means it's time to change the way you think.
So, you misbehaved and had some wrong thoughts, did you? Do you honestly believe your unrighteous thought or deed is greater than the righteousness of Jesus? Have you not read 2Corinthians 5:21? For He has made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5: 21). Surely, you're not saying your moment of unrighteousness took God by surprise, and you somehow destroyed all the righteousness of Jesus, are you? Do you really believe that? Were you alive when Jesus died for our sins and rose again from the dead? Oh, you weren't born yet. Then, He did make provision for all of your sins, past, present and future. When you asked God to forgive you of your sins, He was thinking of every single one, whether you were aware of them or not. In fact, the ones you have yet to commit are on that list. Lets be clear, God's love is greater than our sins. By the way, He's not thinking about your sins anymore, just you!
It is true that in Christ we are new creatures, old things are past, and all things are new (2Corinthians 5:17). It is indeed important to leave the past in the past, but there are times we need to revisit it. Sometimes we need to see where we have been to find how we got where we are today. This includes both the positive and the negative experiences. Keep in mind that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). That means every experience moves in to the positive column. The examination of our pasts needs to be done in concert with the Holy Spirit. It accompanies James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraides not; and it shall be given him.”
There has to be a willingness on our part to see what the Lord may want to show us. It calls for deep humility. Some have difficulty admitting to themselves they have failed at times, but everyone fell short; otherwise, we would have had no need for Jesus. You cannot live in self-denial and hope to move forward. That never works. At the same time, you cannot afford to look for failure in of itself. Rather, you simply need an open heart to see what He wants to show you. Ironically, some have difficulty seeing the positive. It is easy for them to see their failures, but they tend to overlook their successes. You need to be able to see both. Furthermore, you cannot afford to have a false sense of piety, and deny the good you have done. Humility does not deny the good works we have done because we are designed to do them. Ephesians 2:10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. Where we get in trouble is when we fail to give God all the glory. By the way, you are not giving Him glory by putting yourself down.
In order to leave our past in the past, revisiting it helps us see it properly, so we can leave it behind.
Otherwise, we or others can use it against us. Of course, we can use it against others, which is ungodly. Having a proper understanding makes it easier to forgive others and yourself. Furthermore, it helps break unhealthy patterns that keeps you tethered to your past, and keeps you from sabotaging your future.
Here is one example of how this works. Someone may find himself in financial trouble as the result of his spending habits. This is where he needs to see what he did to put himself in this position. The temptation would be to pray for a financial miracle when wisdom is needed. “Get me out of this mess!” What good would a financial miracle do, if he spends himself back into a crises? He needs wisdom to navigate through his finances before the Lord can entrust him with more. In fact, He may use the current crises to teach him to become a good steward with what he has, so He can bless him with more. Thus, helping him from repeating the same thing over again.
Remember, we reap what we sow. Sometimes, a person needs to become aware of bad seed sown, so he can throw the bad seed away. Of course, good seed may have been sown as well. What we did in our past affected our present. More importantly, what Jesus did can have a profound impact on our past if we let Him. Likewise, what we do today affects our future. That's why it is important to see what needs to change, what needs to increase or improve, and what needs to remain the same. Visiting memory lane with a proper perspective can be vital to our future. Invite the Lord to show you what you need to see, especially if you desire change.
With a proper view of our past comes a proper testimony of what God has done in our lives.