William Temple said, “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God. All this is gathered up in that emotion which most cleanses us from selfishness because it is the most selfless of all emotions – adoration.” As we break down this quote piece by piece this week, we’ll consider several different ways to worship God. If you find that you’ve never experienced some of these aspects of worship before, challenge yourself to worship God in a new way this week.
Memory Verse: Psalm 100:4-5 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Quicken the Conscience by the Holiness of God
Monday, February 25, 2013
Read: Isaiah 6:1-8
Reflect: What does it mean to have our conscience quickened by the holiness of God and how does that cause us to worship? Let’s consider the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah was just as human as you and I — absolutely imperfect! Yet, God chose to let Isaiah experience just a glimpse of His presence through a vision (Is. 6:1). When encountering the holiness of the Almighty God, Isaiah knew that he, a sinful human, was nothing compared to the holiness of God. In fact, it caused Isaiah to say, “I am ruined!” (Is. 6:5) Perhaps in our words, we may say “I’m a lost cause!” He knew that, because of sin, he was utterly hopeless. But that’s not how the story ends. Isaiah also experienced the power of God’s forgiveness and commissioning (Is. 6:7-8). Isaiah could have said “thanks for the offer, God, but I’m just not good enough.” But he doesn’t. He says, “Send me!” We give God our worship not only when we recognize the depravity of our soul in comparison to His holiness, but when that realization leads us to accept his forgiveness and say “yes” to what He calls us to.
Respond: When you reflect on God’s holiness, do you find yourself getting stuck by feeling like “a lost cause?” Or, does experiencing God’s holiness cause you to worship God for choosing to offer you forgiveness and calling you to live for a greater purpose?
Feed the Mind with the Truth of God
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Read: Psalm 1; Psalm 119:104-106,160
Reflect: Psalm 119:160 says that the Word of God is truth. Jesus says the same thing as He is praying to the Father in John 17:17. So, if God’s Word is truth, how do we feed our mind with it and how does this cause us to worship? Think for a moment about your eating habits. (Yes, there is a reason I’m asking…just go with me here!) When you skip a meal or two, does your stomach start to growl? Our soul, just like our stomach, needs to be fed. The only way to truly satisfy our soul is to feed our mind with God’s truth. Sure, we can try to fill that hunger by watching mind-numbing TV or by working endless hours just to get a few extra accolades or by stuffing our face full of chocolate cake. But, if we really listen to our soul, we will realize that the only thing that will satisfy that craving is the truth of God. We worship Him and give Him praise when we choose to feed our minds with His truth, rather than an easy, temporary escape.
Respond: What do you try to feed your mind and spirit with? Is it something other than God’s truth? If so, confess that to God, and plan a time to spend with Him today.
Purge the Imagination with the Beauty of God
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Read: Psalm 27:4; Psalm 50:1-3; Psalm 96:6-9
Reflect: As an artist, I am often captivated by a stunning, visual masterpiece. Musicians are mesmerized by the perfect harmony of carefully crafted chords. Writers are intrigued by the steady, rhythmic flow of words on paper. These things cause our senses to be heightened, our emotions to be lifted and sometimes make the hairs on our heads stand on end. But you don’t have to read very far into the book of Psalms to realize that God is infinitely more beautiful, attractive and brilliant than art, music or writing combined. Purging the imagination with God’s beauty is to remove all false notions of who God may be and filling your mind with the truth of who Scripture says He is. He is beautiful. He is awesome. He is majestic. And when everything within us makes us want to stand and declare that He is glorious and worthy, that is worship in its purest form.
Respond: Take a moment to think about the most stunning image you have ever seen, most thrilling piece of music you have ever heard or most moving piece of literature you’ve ever read. Now try to picture yourself in God’s throne room, even more incredible than what you just imagined. Spend a moment there and worship God and His beauty.
Open the Heart to the Love of God
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Read: Psalm 51:1; Psalm 86:15; Psalm 136; 1 John 3:1
Reflect: On her jewelry commercials, Jane Seymour always reminds us, “If your heart is open, love will always find its way in.” While it may be a great saying for her product, it also holds a bit of wisdom for us as Christ followers. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can get pretty stubborn and independent. I’ve been told that some of my first words were “do it own self.” To open up myself to be loved, guided or helped means I must make myself vulnerable. And being vulnerable is uncomfortable. But if I never fully open my heart, if I never allow others to see my weaknesses, how can they love me completely? They can’t. The same goes for God. We worship God when we are willing to surrender and to let Him into the weakest, most vulnerable corners of our heart. Only then will we be able to experience the vastness of His love. If we will open our heart to God, His love will pour in like a torrential flood. It is unfailing, it is abounding, it is great and it endures forever.
Respond: Have you closed your heart off to God, trying to handle everything on your own? Challenge yourself to take a risk and worship God by letting Him into the most vulnerable areas of your heart today. Take some time to journal a prayer to God about those closed-off places in your heart.
Devote the Will to the Purpose of God
Friday, March 1, 2013
Read: Philippians 1
Reflect: Jim Elliot was a famous missionary who was killed while trying to bring the Gospel to a native people group of Ecuador. Before he died, he once said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Likewise, in Philippians, Paul writes from a prison cell about the trials he faces while trying to advance the Gospel. Both of these men are excellent examples of someone worshiping God by devoting their will to the purposes of God. While we may never find ourselves in such extreme situations, God often calls his people to take steps outside of their comfort zones in order to fulfill His purposes. When we listen and obey, we are worshiping Him. The call may look different for each of us, but the response of obedience is what matters for all of us.
Respond: What is God asking you to do in order to fulfill His purpose? Is it going on a mission trip? Is it inviting your coworker to church? Is it adopting an orphan? Is it helping at a homeless shelter? Whatever it is, it may be out of your comfort zone. How will you worship God through this calling?
If you’ve not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, simply admit that you are a sinner in need of a Savior, believe that Jesus is the living Son of God, and choose to follow Him the rest of your life. If you need to talk to someone, call the church office (781-5959) or talk to pastor or prayer counselor after weekend services.
This Time Alone was written by Angie Lomas, PV member