1 “Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken through angels proved to be so firm that every violation or disobedience received its just penalty, 3 how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first communicated through the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard him.”
Hebrews 4:1, 14, 16
1 “Therefore we must be wary that, while the promise of entering his rest remains open, none of you may seem to have come short of it. 14 Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.16 Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.”
The book of Hebrews is like coming home to me. It is a fresh reminder of being fervent in our relationship with the LORD and full of zeal for the amazing gift of salvation He gave us. Yesterday, like most Sundays, I had the privilege of serving on the worship team. As I looked out over the congregation, I found myself distracted. Not by any one particular thing, but by the lack of zeal I felt in my worship. I began to contemplate deeper the words I was singing and wondered how I could ever mouth words without a deep passion within. God is worth all that I have to offer Him and if I really believed the words I was singing, how could I ever offer worship void of passion? I am not speaking of a blind zeal here, but the need for informed worship.
God understands. He is able to sympathize in our weaknesses. Sometimes it is frankly hard to concentrate in this chaotic highly stressful world. Even Christ had to go away to a quiet place to worship God. When I contemplate coming to worship the God of this universe in a public setting, sometimes I need to imagine myself before Him, bowing down before the King of kings. I need to tune out all that is around me and focus singularly on the object of my worship – the lover of my soul. This can be quite challenging, as many thoughts can flood my mind in a given moment.
It is not enough to strive to remove the excessive busyness of my mind, though. I choose to reflect on some aspect of God’s greatness which informs my mind of how awesome my God is. Contemplating a Scripture that pierces my heart or encourages my soul, meditating on His character that thrills my whole being, or reflecting on moments in my personal relationship with God – all can be a catalyst propelling me to sincere worship. This makes the time of worship so much more meaningful than merely singing the same words I have sung before, perhaps many times.
A practical analogy might also shed some light. My children have lamented about how many people lose affection for their spouses. I earnestly desire to model a vibrant marriage before my children but realize that this takes constant intentional action. It is very human to take for granted the incredible gift of our spouse, just as it is to take for granted the gift we have in Christ. How can we keep this fervency? Just like we need to recognize the amazing blessing our spouse is, we need to be Intentional and grateful to God, choosing to focus on the amazing things God has done and will do and simply on Who he is.
Lastly, worshiping God takes preparation. We cannot just haphazardly enter His presence. We can come as we are, desperate before Him, but need to be mindful of Who it is we are worshiping. This might mean taking time to prepare the evening before the sabbath for this one day out of the week when we worship in our community. It might mean having a strategy to help us worship during church when we are tempted to be distracted. God help us to intentionally worship Him in Spirit and truth. We will never be able to offer Him what He deserves, but may we come earnestly seeking Him with all our heart, soul, mind and being.
Lord, please forgive when I am distracted or lukewarm in my devotion to You. You are worth so much more than I could ever give. I love You, LORD, and desire to know You more. Help me to do the one thing needful – kneel at Your feet in worship of You.