I would that every believer sing praises to God daily, not just on Sunday at church.

Psalm 92:1-2 (NKJV) - It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night

And that is why I think it's a joke if someone claims to be serious about being in the worship ministry and yet does not take out time for personal worship moments with God. A person who needs to have good music and an audience before he or she starts singing passionately unto the LORD or dancing around is a hypocrite, in Jesus' opinion.

Matthew 6:1-2 (NIV) - Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

I don't think that Jesus is not talking about total absolute secrecy. If he was, then I'll have to donate things to the Salvation Army collection centres in the middle of the night while wearing a ninja suit. And I'll look really weird when I'm arrested by the police (for suspected burglary or attempted terrorism) and they discover children's clothes and old toys cunningly hidden in secret compartments on my clothes and ninja-utility belt…

I believe Jesus is referring to the heart, to the motive of our giving. Are we fine with people totally forgetting about our giving later on? Or do we need the honour in the eyes of others before we give?

And the same thing applies to prayer (and by implication, worship).

Matthew 6:5-6 (NIV) - And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

In other words, if all you want is the applause of men, then that is ALL you will get. But if you want the reward that comes from your Father in heaven, then you have to be prepared to go without the praise that comes from other people.

The reason why many people do not have a consistent and regular personal prayer and worship time is because it does not always feel good straight away. You have to be prepared for months of not feeling as if you are getting anywhere. And all Jesus would say about it is that the Father, whom we cannot see, will reward us. Yet nothing concrete and tangible is promised as the reward. Is it money? Power to heal the sick and raise the dead? Influence and authority?

Jesus doesn't tell us.

That means that the only people who are going to take Jesus at his word here are those who can 1) See the unseen God through eyes of faith; AND 2) believe that the Father knows best how to reward us for seeking him. And this was the case for Moses. He too saw God and valued the reward he knew God has prepared for those who seek him.

Hebrews 11:26-27 (NIV) He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Seeking after the honour that comes from men is a lot easier. It's tangible and immediate. Some people are so earthly minded that the tangible and immediate things are good enough for them. So if praying, reading the Bible and worship doesn't feel good immediately, or at least within the first 5-10 minutes, they quit and make excuses for themselves, saying that they are not the spiritual sort.

Let me be blunt here: no one is. No one is born into the Kingdom of God finding all the things of God easy. Sure, we might enjoy prayer, worship, feeding on the Scriptures and other acts of righteousness at first because they are new and exciting to us. But soon, the routine and dryness sets in. That is when we have to make the choice: are we going to seek God only when it feels good? Or we will preserve no matter what, because we have set our hearts and minds on heavenly things (Col 3:1-2)?

It takes conscious decision and deliberate effort. That is why we are told to crave spiritual milk in order that we may grow up in our salvation (1 Pet 2:2). If the Bible tells us to crave spiritual milk, it means that it is not something that we would naturally do as believers. It requires us to be transformed by the renewing of the mind (Rom 12:2)

You know what I wish?

I wish that I could spur the average believers around me to seek after the things of God more. I wish spiritual hunger was contagious and that I could infect people with it, then they would overflow with the desire and discipline to spend personal time with God. I wish I could make them treasure and experience the relationship and fellowship that is just between them and God, that which no one else can ever fully experience or understand because it is strictly between God and them.

That is why I get so frustrated sometimes, when I meet believers who need to have God dumbed down for them. For them I try to show them how easy it is to get started with prayer and the Word of God. We all have to start somewhere, true. But if we are not growing in our faith, and find ourselves exactly the same place we were spiritually 5-10 years ago, then something has gone wrong somewhere. The writer of the book of Hebrews says:

Heb 6:1 (NIV) - Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity…

Conclusion: I am tempted to end this post with a few how-to-es. How to see the invisible God, how to trust in him to reward us, how to get started in prayer and all that. But I suspect it is not necessary. I suspect that every believer who is honest before God will know how he or she stands spiritually. I believe every believer who is honest with themselves already knows, deep in his or her heart, what God wants him or her to do next and what is the first step. The only question now is: are you going to take that next step forward? Go for it!

Be blessed!

Views: 35

Comment by Lorraine Doswell on March 20, 2011 at 9:03am

Hi Junjie,

 

This is great and spot on.  As I was saying in one of the posts, I felt that maybe my worship days were coming to an end...........however, I didn't mean the worship between the Lord and I.  WOW, that is what worship is all about for me, it is not being in front of an audience. When I worship at home by myself, I am able to sing/play whatever is in my heart in a way I can never do when providing worship in church etc. 

Very thought provoking stuff Junjie, I do hope others will read and be as blessed as I have been. Thank you.

 

Lorraine

  

Comment by Junjie on March 21, 2011 at 3:00pm

I wrote this because I saw posers and wannabes being respected and seen as true worshippers even though they had no personal worship life to speak of. (They admitted to it themselves). I just hope that this post isn't going to be taken more harshly than it was meant to be... :)

Comment by Lorraine Doswell on March 22, 2011 at 5:55pm
I don't think that it will be taken harshly at all. You are not having a go at any particular person, only telling it as it is. I think if I was that kind of worshipper, I would hardly dare admit to it though!  Have they no shame?!
Comment by Ruth Njuguna on March 30, 2011 at 1:48pm
This is good stuff. my God help each an every one of us. To have time with him for worship daily... myself I mostly don't get enough time to do all these... and this message has woken my spirit... hope all can take this message as it is and see the impact it can have in their lives with God... Yes intimate relationship with God is what am looking for... (Junjie, remember me in prayers...) AMEN!!
Comment by Vic Salt on April 6, 2011 at 3:47pm

Glad I read this.   Worship is doing stuff God for and with God.   Sometimes I find that the world (Work, Church Stuff and my Children) distract me from God.  When I notice that,  I sing worship songs in my mind (out loud it distracts and worries my work colleges) or pick up the guitar.

I visited a friend house for the first time last night and you could feel that God is worshiped there.  Such a sense  of joy and peace.

May you do what God is blessing

Yours in Christ

Vic 

 

Comment by John Dierckx on July 13, 2011 at 11:34pm
Thanks for this great post my friend. I once heard someone say: you will manifest in public what you build in secret (out of the public eye). I guess worship is no exception to that.
Comment by Rick Cogbill on July 16, 2011 at 5:24pm

Some great thoughts, Junjie, and I agree (and am challenged) that we must have those personal quiet (or not so quiet) times with God alone, or we won't survive.

 

Just keep in mind that not everyone can sing (I'm amazed how many people admit this to me) or play an instrument. So the "worship time" may or may not include a musical aspect.

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