Have you ever been stuck in worship? You know. Sitting in what appears to be crazy presence with people connecting with God all around you and you are a spectator? Not a participant?
Most often we may be thinking about WHAT GOD is NOT DOING. Rather than WHAT GOD is DOING.
|"Christ and the Rich Young Ruler," by Heinrich Hofmann|
When we focus on What God is NOT DOING we miss the moment, the voice of God and what he may actually be doing for us right then.
Here are some typical things I find myself saying about what he is not doing....
- I don't feel him like I used to in worship. He must be gone.
- He is not resolving my current situation fast enough- where's God now.
- He is not touching me like I was hoping for. I wanted a fill blown manifestation encounter. Maybe he is not real.
- He is not talking to me the way he used to. I don't hear him. Did he ever talk to me?
- He did not answer me the way I expected. Why can't God just answer me or talk to me like I was talking with another person?
Couple things to remember
Remember the mind of the flesh is in a decisive battle with God. The world and the Devil are as well. We are trained up in the ways of the dog eat dog world order. That path trains us to see what is lacking, bite and devour, and judge freely. We are trained to pick out what people are not doing and in particular what God is not doing. Then we become his judge. This is a prime approach of the Enemy. It is not easily seen by us because it is a mindset and a culture supports and upholds it.
Second, we like to prescribe how God should act. We regularly create in our minds a scenario for the Lord to act in and or orchestrate. Like a play for God to act out. Our play. We write it and everything he should do and say in it. Sadly, He is not typically cooperative with this approach.
So when God doesn't act like we think he should (keep in mind we frame the script from the mind of the flesh and the fallen world order and with the Devil's abundant resources of lies) we get mad. We get offended. Thankfulness and Mad do not hang out very well together. It doesn't take a high degree of discernment to realize that Thankfulness will not be thriving in a garden filled with this kind of soil.
Ex. God is a good parent. Good earthly parents don't let the smallest, typically most self focused child in the household run the roost. We train them up in the way they should go. We teach them how to be responsible members of the family. How to care, love and contribute. Left to themselves we typically get Lord of the Flies households.
Problem #1- God doesn't play along.
This is key - Thankfulness is an ever flowing stream when we look at, celebrate, enjoy and remember what God is doing.
What is God doing? Right NOW. Do you see it? Can you say what it is?
As we grow up into Christ the Head we learn more and more the ways of God.
How he does things.
Problem #2 - When we are God's judge thankfulness doesn't happen.
Thankfulness and judgement are not good friends. Thankfulness opens every doorway to worship and praise. When we get an offense at God stuck in our hearts , worship drifts far away from. Spirit and Truth worship begins in the heart, it sees everything that is good and seeks to reflect that back out into the world and to God' s heart as praise and worship.
Problem #3 - Walking with Jesus requires staying in touch with thankfulness.
Following Jesus requires trusting his NAME and character. That he will lead us to the very best and to salvation through all of life's twits and turns. When our life direction is in his hands there are many moments when the world is swirling around you and you can clearly see what God isn't doing. This is when thankfulness can focus you again on what he is doing. On the fact that he is good and all together loving.
Problem #4 - Entitlement mentalities ruin creative Kingdom service and love
When we think we are entitled to certain ways of living, standards of lifestyle and outcomes for our work, we are going to struggle when those things disappear or are gone. The problem arises when God does not agree to support those things or make them a baseline for serving him or loving him. We have more idols than we care to let on to.
Imagine Jesus at the garden before the crucifixion telling the Father he won't be following through on the crucifixion because he already gave up more than he really wanted.
How do we break out of the place where we only see what God is not doing?
1. Get back into places where worship happens and people adore God.
Don't divorce yourself from the presence of the Lord or from people who express passion and encounter God. Running from the presence is a sure sign of offense. It may be a good time to measure your love and worship with those who press in no matter what. Jesus called the Ephesian church to repent for lack of first love. Ask the Spirit to show you any heart offenses against God.
2. Look, See, Hear and Behold with a child like heart. Remember Jesus said that if we do not look for him with a child like heart we will not see the Kingdom. We will not see what God is doing. The Holy Spirit is like wind. We have to grow in understanding when he is active and working and what that looks like. When the wind blows there are all kinds of responses to it. Rest and Peace are as good as hilarity and wild expressions of joy.
3. Give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to do some heart surgery.
When was the last time you were ministered to by a team for more than a quick prayer? Many believers have never experienced this. There are incredible resources available to us for encouragement, encounter with Jesus and ministry that imparts freedom, love and forgiveness. Be purposeful about receiving ministry.
4. Fear is not part of God's Kingdom.
Fear is from the big three. The world, the Flesh and the Devil. Fear is not going to lead you to thankfulness. Fearing the Lord is about reverence, holiness, awe and wonder and he is perfect love that casts out all fear. When we connect with the supernatural we can encounter a holy fear. The flesh fears the overwhelming reality of heaven. Hang in there when God is moving in power and wonder. Your thankfulness will grow leaps and bounds by sticking close to God's activity.
Start every worship time, prayer time and gathering with the Saints by thanking him. Do it until you have freedom recognize his presence with a simple thank you. Thank HIM for everything great to small. Gas. Working physical body. Family. A church. Dinner. Your Job. Your friends. Silverware. Shoes. We are so blessed.
Hope this is helpful. I want to see more freedom in worship and less offense in general.
I've written some things on offense and what it does to us. Here are some links.
Thank you for reading and for the comments and +1's.
Love in the Lord
Jeff Reynolds Sr. Leader
Capstone Christian Fellowship