Wednesday, January 21, 2009

40 Days of cHesed—Day 13

Day 13 Worship That Pleases God

The Hebrew Shema talks about loving God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. The word strength is really the key to the proper understanding of this verse.

Have you ever heard the word vehement? (It is pronounced VEE ha ment.) Well, it captures the Hebrew concept that is usually translated strength. Vehement means something that is characterized by forcefulness of expression or intensity of emotion, passion or conviction.

Worship that pleases God, then, is meant to reflect love that is expressive, emotional, passionate and perceptive. It is to be a reflection of the depth of our intimacy with God. God wants to be worshiped in spirit and in truth (See John 4:23-24). He wants to be worshiped with the totality of our lives in complete openness and honesty. Giving part of yourself or trying to hide something from him just won’t do.

The important thing to remember is that God’s friendship with each of us is unique—and our expression of that friendship may be different from others. Worship that pleases God allows each person enough freedom for his or her own expression of spirit and truth—while exercising enough restraint for good order in our unified expression. It is not to be either/or. It is to be both/and.

So when you consider your response to God’s intimate friendship, it may inspire you to raise a hand (or both of them!). It may inspire you to close your eyes and ponder the words being said or sung around you. It may cause you to confess and repent. It may send you to your knees. It may sweep over you and brings tears to your eyes. It may make you dance and clap with joy. It may inspire you to hug your neighbor.

If your worship does not reflect all that God has made you to be—or has been less than completely open and honest—look for the Spirit to ask you to change.

Today’s Look at 1 John

Read 1 John 2:12-17. While you’re reading, look for things that can cause you to be closed instead of open—or not relating honestly with God and others.

Keep Breathing!

Today when you ask God—your new best friend—to spend the day with you, transforming your conversations and activities, check the choices you have been making. Are your choices being restrained by your love for God? Do they represent a living sacrifice—spiritual worship?

If not, take a cleansing breath—and exhale any disappointment with yourself. Wipe the sweat off your forehead and look beside you—God is still there.

Just keep after it!

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