Do You Draw Near?
- Thursday, July 03, 2003
Who is God? What is He like? Every fledgling believer asks those questions-the answers he finds evoke wonder and praise. Do you remember that time? Your appetite for truth was insatiable, you attended every Bible conference you could, and you were faithfully involved in every ministry and program the church had to offer. Everything you learned about God filled you with joy and ignited zealous activity.
So, what happened? Sadly, I've watched many Christians lose the wonder of worship as the years pass. Life for them grinds on monotonously and church attendance becomes rote behavior-you sing, you listen to a sermon, you greet a few people with handshakes and smiles, and you go home.
If that sounds familiar, return to God by submitting to James' imperative: "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (4:8). To know the one true God is your glorious calling. Are you ready to draw near? Let me give you some practical encouragement on how to do that.Understanding Worship
Worshiping God is the essence of being a Christian. Jesus explained that point to a Samaritan woman this way: "An hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers" (John 4:23). If we are Christians, we are worshipers. Our hope of eternal life is really an anticipation of unhindered, unadulterated worship. "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (John 17:3). With that in mind, we evangelize the lost to gather more worshipers to fill our ranks. Worship then is at the heart of everything we are and do.
Tragically, many Christians today have set their affections on the temporal things of this world, exchanging their great privilege of knowing God better for that which is mundane. King David had the best this world had to offer-money, power, success, fame-and yet he said, "One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple" (Ps. 27:4, emphasis added).
Let me make an important observation at this point. I think some people get the sense that doctrinal precision equates to emotional sterility. Though we can all point to examples of that, nothing could (or should) be further from the truth. There is no lack of passion in David's psalms, and his theology-under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit-was impeccable. Knowledge of God to Him was "to behold the beauty of the Lord" and he wanted to meditate on it for the rest of his life. Does that sound like cold orthodoxy to you?
Here's a simple way to look at worship: Worship is an overflow of a mind renewed by the truth of God. Cast in that light, delving into the truth of God's Word becomes discovery rather than dry and lifeless study. When you discover a great truth about God, you meditate on that truth-mulling it around in your mind-until it captivates your whole thinking process. That in turn will lead to worship.
Worship is really the outcome of two of the simplest Christian disciplines: Bible study and prayer. Study the Bible with the goal of discovering the wonders of God. Once you latch on to some great truth, fill your mind with it and ponder it in prayer before God. Your inner man will respond with righteous affections that will fill you with joy and renew your zeal to serve others.Returning to Worship
So how do you get started? First, you must repent. The failure to worship God in spirit and in truth is not just an unfortunate lapse in spiritual enthusiasm, it is a sin. To love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind is not the greatest suggestion in the Law, it is the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:36-40). Confess your sin, clear your conscience, and get ready for step two-prepare to worship God.
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