I just wanted to worship.
—Said Me, NEVER
Do conversations echo in your mind? I’m a deep thinker, so something you say may bounce back and forth, up and down for weeks before I make true sense of what it means in my mind. It sounds sexier than it is, mainly it just makes me crazy.
“The mind governed by flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
But this particular story never really made me crazy, I just had no idea what this person was talking about until now. Hello hindsight.
A long time ago, I was in a conversation with a new Mom, yet, I was a few years from becoming one myself. This Mom told me the story about how she just wanted to be in church worshiping the previous Sunday, but her baby just wasn’t having it. She stood in the back of the church shushing her little-bundle-of-non-joy-at-the-moment with tears streaming down her cheeks.
I need the sound of a record coming to a halt. I have never and I mean never said “I just wanted to be in church worshiping.” This woman was actually disappointed that her baby was distracting her away from the singing and the preaching that was happening instead of secretly being relieved she got to get up and walk away from what sounds like a lot of fancy-floofing and Amens?!
After that conversation with that new Mom, I always asked myself why I never was just dying to worship. I mean, God is amazing, right? He made the sun and the moon and the earth and heck, He made you and me! I guess I had moments of being in awe of Him, but really, I was just checking “church” off my to-do list, which somewhere at the bottom of it was “don’t go to hell.”
Isn’t that what it was all about anyway? You live, you try to be a good person, you die and hope you don’t go to hell. I know I’m being funny here, but isn’t that the gist for so many of us? Well, it was for me for a long, long time. It was for me until my husband became restless at our previous church, making excuses to get up for more coffee or more water and then eventually, the potty. Finally we realized he was not getting spiritually fed (and apparently I wasn’t either if I was just sitting there to get out of hell) and we decided to visit our current church.
That was three years ago and now things are different. There are days I only want to worship. I look at the clock and am excited I can devote an entire hour to a bible study and some worship music. There are days I sorta worship all day during my tasks. I never have the TV on, I always have christian music blaring and I am happily going about my business as I may stop to thank God for this or that. But the best part, the best part is the part I never expected. I never expected to have the desire to give up some of the things I have willingly given up to get closer to God. It sounds like no fun. But that is simply the devil trying to sweeten the fleshly things we crave. Let me take this another route.
I remember when my husband and I were dating and since we were in our 20’s there was plenty of alcohol and late nights involved (not to mention, all nighters, ahem.) I smoked cigarettes. Mom, are you reading this? I didn’t do it all the time, but enough that it was a habit that my soon-to-be husband did not like. He said it many times. One time, I lit up while he was staring right at me and the look on his face was enough to make me stop and I don’t believe I ever really smoked again.
Have you ever wanted to please someone so much that you were willing to give up the thing that separated you in the first place? Your job maybe, your school to be nearer to your people, but what about a bad habit? What about night time routines or daily schedules? What about switching religions entirely? Think about the things you have given up for someone else, but aren’t willing or spiritually awake enough to give them up to get closer to God? In Pastor Shane’s message this past Sunday he said God answers prayer in a couple of ways, “Yes,” “No,” “Wait,” “I’ll give you that if you give me this.” It’s the last one I am talking about.
It’s like He is saying, you want to be with me? Put down that cigarette you beautiful girl.
It’s like He is saying, you want to be with me? Quit filling your mind with the trash you see on social media, focus on Me.
It’s like he is saying, you want to be with me? Then, give up everything and follow me.
Wait-a-minute, isn’t that actual scripture? Matthew 16:24 says “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Don’t like that one? How about this one : Romans 8:6 “For the mind governed by flesh is death, but the mind governed by the spirit is life and peace.”
I’ll go on.
It’s like He’s saying, you want to be with me? It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna suck. It’s not a whole lot of fun sometimes, but if you focus on ME, I will be all you need.
Let me finish with the follow up sentences after Romans 6.
“The mind governed by flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law nor can it do so. Those who are not in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”
O-M-G! To me, the scripture reads in a way that there is a mysterious other realm out there that’s far better than the one we live in. Does it read the same to you? Well, if that’s the case, and I believe it is because this Good Book is Truth, then I want in! Right? I want in, God, to the realm of the spirit so I can receive Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. I want in God, so I can receive what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. If that means being aware of how many alcoholic drinks I have, or how many cuss words come out of my mouth (guilty) or how many white lies I’ve told, then I guess that’s what it means to be in the spirit. I don’t want to be in the flesh if it’s not pleasing to God because I know what the alternative is. It’s guilt, shame, embarrassment, judgment, harsh words, tears, regret, bitterness, malice, envy, jealousy, lying and so many more but the biggest of all, it means death. It means I would rather die than give up the things for my Heavenly Father who has prepared a place for me in heaven. There is no in-between, at least that is how I read the scripture. I read it as either or. Flesh or spirit. Smoking section or non smoking section. Wanting to worship or checking “church” off my list.
We will have a new podcast next week, Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Don’t forget to turn off what you’re listening to and give Shane’s message a listen!
Thanks for listening and reading,