Today I wrap up my thoughts on authentic worship and the obstacles hindering us from it.
My hope and prayer is that this mini-series has opened your eyes to some spiritual “blind spots” in your life, as it has mine.
I recently heard a sermon on Numbers 13-14, a passage which describes Israel’s spies who scoped out the Promised Land. Ten spies chickened out and presented a bad report because they were afraid to take the land from those who were already possessing it. Only two spies had faith in God’s power through them, and encouraged the Jewish people to go in and possess the land the Lord had promised them.
The preacher made a statement that gripped my heart and hasn’t let me go yet:
Caleb refused to become acclimated to the wilderness.
He wouldn’t accept less than what God had promised.
He staunchly refused to settle for less than his rightful inheritance.
How many areas of wilderness are in my heart? Besetting sins…even seemingly “little ones” – sins that don’t seem to bear a significant consequence.
Oh what deception! It is those same “little sins” that keep me content in my wilderness. Lack of joy. Unbelief. No peace. How about lack of self-control? Anger? Greed? Gossip? Selfishness? Apathy? Envy?
My lack of attention to these matters starts with unbelief.
I don’t believe they really matter all that much.
I don’t believe they’re really all that bad.
I don’t believe Jesus had to die for them, too.
I don’t believe they prevent authentic worship.
I don’t believe they hinder my spiritual growth.
And I don’t even notice them anymore because I’ve acclimated to the wilderness. I’ve gained a sense of being comfortable with my “struggles” and “weaknesses.”
I don’t long for the Promised Land of overflowing joy and all-surpassing peace and unparalleled fulfillment.
I don’t claim the fullness of the promised inheritance from my Father.
Instead, I’m content with my little bits of sin and little bits of Jesus.
I conveniently ignore that while Christ died to save me from the penalty of sin in a place called hell,
He also died to save me from the power of sin right now. He gave His own life to bring me out of the wilderness completely. And to bring the wilderness out of me.
In so many ways, I can be like the foolish Israelites we scoff at so, who were freed from slavery…
and soon after desired to return to their bondage.
Just like them, my desire is, “Just give me manna, Lord. And maybe some quail. I just want enough, God. Enough grace. Enough love. Give me enough, and I’m good with that.”
NO, beloved friend! Let’s stop being content in the wilderness. Let’s stop being content with enough! Let’s not rest and not relax and not be comfortable until we have ALL OF HIM! And until He has ALL OF US.
Until we are free.
Are you starting to realize areas of bondage?
Are you waking up to the realization that you’re in the wilderness?
God’s intention is never for His children to be content there.
After all, He paid the ultimate price to ensure it didn’t have to be so.
And so I pray for you as I do for myself, that the “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…”
Not so you can place yourself under condemnation.
Not so you can become discouraged in your walk with the Lord.
Not so you can decide it’s hopeless to even try to walk with God and worship authentically.
BUT SO THAT you “may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Dear friend, the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is within you. (Ephesians 1:18-21)
And it’s waiting to bring you out of the wilderness once more.