A phrase that I have come to love, and that is becoming a common expression of mine is “Worship is War.” This post isn’t going to be as informative as it will be personal, but I hope it is encouraging nonetheless.
Right now I am at a season in life where a lot of things are going on and I have very little control over much of it. Changes are taking place in my church. God is growing me drastically as I get ready for some major life changes. And then there are the daily things we all go through. So, I have decided that I need to spend some time radically pursuing God.
Last week I asked God to reveal to me some areas of my life that I am still holding on to or have been unwilling to surrender to Him. He specifically showed me three areas, which are vaguely these:
The intersection of my ministry and my job. I find it difficult to trust Him to work my job situation and feel that I have to manipulate the situation to get days off or whatever.
My calling. I know what I am being called to, I just don’t feel adequate. The enemy has been fighting me mentally and winning.
Some family stuff.
In order to win these battles I have committed myself to three weeks of intense, intentional pursuit of God. While some parts of this pursuit are pretty intimate and I don’t feel they need shared, some of them are very practical and very simple.
First of all, I have taken a lot of the music off of my iPod, and replaced it with music that stirs me to worship. Now I am not ashamed of the fact that I don’t like a lot of ‘Christian music’ and pretty much refuse to listen to pop Christian radio. I am also not convicted about the music I do listen to in the indie or country categories. But when it comes time for me to pursue God, music has a drastic effect on my mind and emotions, and I want to sing along with songs that draw me in to Him.
Another change is that, while I am a pretty politically minded guy with strong opinions that can be controversial to either side of a political debate, I am not listening to political talk radio, turning on the major news stations, or even listening to comedians such as Steven Colbert or Bill Maher. I have replaced that time with listening to Christian podcasts of sermons or testimonies that will remind me that I serve a King before I serve a country. While I do feel that Christians definitely have a role in politics, our theology must be the guiding factor. For many Christians, though, politics can easily drive our theology.
Another thing is that I am limiting my time on things like Facebook or Twitter. Although I love the convenience of staying connected to what so many of my friends are doing, it can easily take me out of what is going on right now where I am. Because I am trying to disconnect myself from the things of the world, I don’t need the constant contact with the world. I need to spend more time connecting with God.
Now, look, I could spend all day talking about the changes we can all make to pursue God harder and more intimately. But that isn’t the point of this post. The point I want to make is that the Bible continually tells us that this life is a battleground between the flesh and the spirit. For most of us, however, we too easily become dull to the battle that’s raging in us and around us because we simply get used to life the way it is. We suffer from spiritual Stockholm Syndrome. We have been taken captive, and no longer care to be set free. But this captivity is NOT what God wants for us.
“I don’t have time to read my Bible.”
“If I wake up early to pray, I’ll be too tired to work.”
“If I listened to that music in my office people are going to get mad.”
“If I tried to talk about Jesus, people are going to get offended.”
Excuse after excuse after excuse because we can’t imagine that it would be worth it, or what it would even look like when we actually engage in the war and discover that abundant life that Jesus spoke of.
It is time to stop making excuses and MAKE WAR!”
Someone is going to read this and say, “this young punk just doesn’t understand real life… It isn’t as easy as he makes it sound.” Well if that’s you, you’re wrong on the first point, and right on the second. I know that so many of you are at stages in life I’m not. For instance, no, I am not married or have kids. But despite lifestyle differences, I still work a job that keeps me out in a truck 10-14 hours a day, 6 out of every 8 days. I am the volunteer associate pastor at my church. I am preparing for a trip to Uganda this summer. I am trying to figure things out to move into career missions next year. I have a brother who is about to get married – by me. A family who I am working to build a better relationship with, and dozens of other everyday things that come up and have to be dealt with. Now, I am NOT saying that pursuing God is easy. It is one of the hardest things for us to do, even on a good day. What I am saying is that IT MUST BE DONE!
You have got to battle against the temptations of your flesh and the world. You have got to go hard after God. You have got to learn to hear His voice and walk in obedience. You have got to learn to make war and you do that in worship.
The reality is that God gives us so many weapons to use in this fight – prayer, scripture, fasting, singing, giving, serving, etc. – but too many of us use them as decoration on our uniform (legalism – keeping up appearances), rather than actually entering the battle. So we pray before a meal, at least publicly. We sing the songs in church, because people look at us if we don’t. We wear the right clothes, say the right thing, and act the right way, but in the end, we are losing the battle because we won’t actually fight.
Worship is war. Will you join the battle?