Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pleasing and Acceptable

Pleasing and acceptable.

In my home, my thought life, my worship...It's how I want to be found in the eyes of God.

But my heart still fights the desire to hear, "well done" from my peers, my family, you know "man". It doesn't raise it's head often, but when this old stronghold comes up, I know I can either go straight to God's word, OR I can self-destruct. The choice is mine.

For three weeks now, God has been placing scripture in front of me. Each verse connected to the previous, expanding on a theme that I began to have a burden for five years ago.

Worship. Pure, pleasing, and acceptable worship.

Last week as I was preparing for Sunday,(I was covering piano for my vacationing friend.) God continue to remind me just how serious He is about our hearts being clean when we come to worship.

I was, dealing with some frustration, hurt and just plain anger towards a specific situation. All that junk was distracting me and I kept going back to the verse God was using to reignite this passion for properly positioned worship.

It's in Amos 5. I know, Amos?. Yes. Amos. In verses 18-27 God is reminding his people that all their religious behavior does nothing to bring them closer to him. He LONGS for and desires their total devotion. AND, he wants that devotion to be evident by their character. HIS character lived out in their daily lives. With that short explanation, here are the verses that jumped off the page to me.

I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them.
Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
(Verses 21-23 ESV)

Kind of cuts deep doesn't it.

If my heart is not completely devoted to Christ...

If my character does not point others straight to Him....

If my daily actions are no different than those that do not know Jesus Christ....

My worship is noise.

That was a wake up call for me. What came next was work. Lots of time working through that frustration and hurt and anger. Confession of sin that I had not been quick to confess. (Why? Because that would mean I had to admit I was wrong. See that pride?)

Romans 12:1-2 seem to keep coming to mind. Here it is from the Message.

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

As hard as that was, I had to grin at the very first song we sang on Sunday. "Sold Out".

My favorite line in the song is this.

My heart is fixed, my mind's made up
No room, no vacancies, I'm all filled up
His Spirit lives in me and that's the reason - I'm Souled Out.

I've been challenged to start each day with a Sold Out mentality. A fixed heart and a made up mind to worship my Savior each day. In the daily chores as well as my spot in the alto section on Sunday morning. To live confidently that His approval is all that matters.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal. 1:10

(If you need a little jumpstart go here and listen to the first song from Sunday morning. Just hit play. It's right after the video. I promise it will encourage you.)


Anonymous said...

Steph, I have no idea about your situation. But this very issue has reared it's ugly head in my life since the end of April. In fact, my SSMT for May 15th was Gal 1:10. God has been faithfully pealing back the layers of this deeply seeded sin. And though painful, I've been thankful to walk a path of freedom. I actually wrote a similar post just before my Gal 1:10 SSMT. wow.

I will pray for you and I pray for myself. I sense you are much father along in battling this idol than I, but I am happy to pray nonetheless.

blessings, friend!

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

I think I have a love-hate relationship with the things God does to clean us up. I hate the pain that comes with the scraping away of the filth from my heart, but I love the results of that work. He is doing something in me right now and I'm not sure I even fully understand what it is He is after just yet.

Love ya,

jenmom said...

I love the MSG wording of Romans 12:1-2!
I battle what I call the "People Pleasing Syndrome" myself. May we all find God's grace in living our lives for an audience of One!