Is Your Worship Wandering?
- 2002 17 Sep
Our hearts and affections are fickle. Even as Christians we can wander off like dull sheep, following other bypaths, chasing other goals and gods, falling in love with lesser things. When we give our hearts to Christ, our old natures don't die. We're given new natures, but the old ones have not yet been eradicated. The moment we quit walking in dependence on the Holy Spirit, we're in danger of misplaced affections, of wandering after the world.
It Happened It happened to Noah. After the Genesis flood, he became a farmer and vineyard keeper, and on one occasion became too attached to his wine. His resulting drunkenness created a family scandal (Genesis 9:20-24).
It happened to Abraham. Despite his faith in God, his love and concern for his beautiful wife Sarah drove him to deceit on two occasions (Genesis 12:10-20; 20:1-18).
It happened to Gideon. The Lord used him to lead Israel, but he took from them their gold, and "Gideon made it into an ephod and set it up in his city, Ophrah. And all Israel played the harlot with it there. It became a snare to Gideon and to his house" (Judges 8:27).
It happened to Samson. Here was a man whose birth was predicted in advance, who was dedicated to the Lord from infancy, and who was gifted by God with supernatural strength through the Spirit. Yet his passions continually led him astray.
It happened to David. The man who wrote, "O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth…," had a wandering eye that led him into adultery, murder, and cover-up.
It happened to Solomon. During an intense moment of worship, the young king beseeched God for wisdom, and the Lord answered abundantly. Yet Solomon wandered off, married foreign women, and when he was old, "his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God" (I Kings 11:4).
It happened to Peter, prompting Jesus to say, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men" (Matthew 16:23).
It happened to Demas, who, having accompanied Paul on his journeys, finally forsook him for this present world (II Timothy 4:10).
It even happened to the church of Ephesus, who had counted among its pastors Paul, Timothy, and John. In Revelation 2:4, Jesus said: "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love."
It can happen to you and me.
What Happens When We Wander The result is that instead of becoming more Christlike, we become increasingly like our new "god." But if we love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, and souls, we'll become increasingly like Christ, for we are "created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:24, NIV).
How To Avoid Wandering How can you avoid wandering from wholehearted worship?
Rededicate yourself to Christ each day. Just months before his death, missionary David Livingstone wrote in his diary: "Birthday. My Jesus, my King, my life, my All; I again dedicate my whole self to Thee."
Ask God to search you. We're expert self-deceivers, and we often don't know our own hearts. But the Bible suggests this prayer: "Search me, O God, and know my heart." (Psalm 139:23, KJV).
Replace wandering with wondering. Evangelist Gypsy Smith used to say, "I have never lost the wonder." Take time to relish the beauty of God's majestic creation.
Give your tithes and offerings. Where your treasure is there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21).
Pray for a blessing in attending church every Sunday. Train your mind to concentrate on the words of hymns and songs you sing, on the prayers offered, and on the sermons preached.
Maintain your personal devotions. It's hard to wander too far away when you're meeting Him day by day in Bible study and prayer.
Have you replaced your worship of God with a misplaced affection? A relationship? A goal? A hobby that's taken over your life? A house, car, boat, or some other "big ticket" item? Confess this to God, turn back to Christ, realign your priorities, and have no other gods before Him.