It’s not supposed to be this way. We don’t have to settle.
God’s plan for our worship of Him doesn’t remotely resemble anything shallow and unfulfilling – or passive and routine. Not at all. Yet sadly, all too often we do settle.
I recently finished reading Beth Moore’s excellent book, Believing God, and she describes this image while taking a routine morning walk: ”Four ducks were splashing in a mud puddle in the sidewalk while a large, pristine pond was just over a small hill. I stopped in my tracks and stared. I felt like God was saying to me, ‘Beth, that’s my church. My blood-bought, Spirit-promised church splashing in a mud puddle with a sea of living waters within her reach. Just on the other side.’”
What a powerful word picture! As I read that, I immediately thought of the same, sad comparison between what’s become the common ritual called worship in many of our lives today and authentic, Biblical worship.
I imagined Christians wading in the insignificant puddle – merely mouthing words to worship songs on Sunday mornings with unengaged hearts and minds, because that’s just what you do. (Been there, done that.) And then I pictured others diving deeper into the expansive, living waters of worship to behold the greater wonders of God, and humbly offering back to Him from all He poured out.
It’s the difference between:
“This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me.
But in vain do they worship Me” (Mark 7:6-7a).
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33, 36).
Like the four ducks, those in the first group don’t always pause to wonder if there’s something better within reach. And not just better, but something amazing and powerful that literally fulfills their God-created purpose.
The answer is found in the seeking.
God created us with a powerful need (not just desire) to intimately know Him and worship Him. And when we settle for the meaningless puddle of a disconnected God-relationship and routine worship instead, then that need is left unfulfilled. And that purpose unsatisfied.
But we know that our God is unsearchable! Unfathomable! And He loves to reveal Himself to us!
So it’s not surprising that we find all we need to avoid settling in Him. We need to continually ask God to help us know Him more fully – and we need to respond by pursuing a greater intimacy with the God who’s revealing Himself to us! Worship out of that place is the worship that God so longs for from us.
We need to pray as this psalmist, “O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling places. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God” (Psalm 43:3-4)!
Because when we’re not seeking to know God more intimately, then there’s nothing fueling our desire to love and truly worship Him. We’re settling for far, far less than what He created us for. And more importantly, we’re not even close to offering our amazing God what He deserves. The result of that choice will always be the insignificant puddle of unengaged, “but in vain” worship – when we could have the vast ocean of worshiping the infinite God of the universe who deserves all we could possibly offer Him!
So don’t listen to the duck (i.e., the voice of the enemy) that says, hey, this puddle is enough!
Don’t settle. Never stop seeking. There is always more to our God. Let your breath be taken away by Him in worship!
How do you fight the temptation to settle for less than God’s purpose for you in worship?
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