|What Jesus says...|
In January, I talked about how God's invitation to me this year was to "come and worship." I planned to start reading a 30-day devotional by Adam Palmer based on the Tim Hughes' song Here I Am to Worship. I planned to do a 7-week workbook by David Sherbino called Reconnect: Spiritual Exercises to Develop Intimacy with God. I planned to start the day with worship music, scripture, and prayer.
How did all this planning pan out?
Not so well, honestly. I completed the 30-day devotional, but didn't get far with Sherbino's book. I started the day with music, the Word, and prayer...for about two-and-a-half months. I forget what happened mid-March, but something got in the way of my routine and I never regained my footing.
One thing I read in the first month was John Piper's definition of worship on the Desiring God website. He says,
to know God truly and then respond from the heart to that knowledge by valuing God, treasuring God, prizing God, enjoying God, being satisfied with God above all earthly things. And then that deep, restful, joyful satisfaction in God overflows in demonstrable acts of praise from the lips and demonstrable acts of love in serving others for the sake of Christ.”
From this I discerned the following "action steps":
- be in
His Word and spend time with Him in prayer, silence and solitude so that I get
to know Him (experience Him, hear from Him, gain a better understanding of His
character and what He wants/desires/expects of me);
- value, treasure, prize, enjoy God, and put Him before anyone and anything else;
- praise Him with my words and songs;
- serve others in Jesus’s Name.
This year, it's been hard for me to experience silence and solitude. It's been hard to enjoy God and put Him first. I've been sporadic in Bible-reading, more consistent in prayer, certainly able to praise and worship Him in word and song. I've spent a lot of time serving others, whether in Jesus's Name or not, I can't say, but only in His strength and with His ability to persevere. I have not always served with patience and a smile. Trials, struggles, and the demands of life, however, have set my face toward the cross and drawn me closer to God. I cannot do without Him.
I'm thankful that when He says, "Come, now is the time to worship," and I then fail in my efforts, I am not defined by my failure. "In Christ, [my] failure can redefine [me]" (Don Miller, quoted in Emily Freeman's Grace for the Good Girl). When I fall short of my own expectations, Jesus reminds me that He still loves me. He invites me to come again, to lift every burden in His presence and to receive His mercy and peace. How can I refuse such kindness?
Lord, I come. I come again.
For more about Susan Barclay and her writing, please visit www.susan-barclay.blogspot.com