Worship Changes Us
Our previous message was about God as the focus of our worship. But when we worship God, we benefit as well. Worship changes us for the better. And when we neglect the worship of God we suffer in tangible and practical ways. Join us as we continue our study, “The Wonder of Worship”.
Today we’re going to look at how worship changes us.
And we’ll focus on Psalm 73 today. We’ll look at what worship does when we devote ourselves to it.
This is what the psalmist writes:
Surely God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
I’m wondering right here, how many of you had an envy-free week this week? You went through the last seven days, and the thought of being jealous of another person never entered your mind.
It never occurred to you to say, “I wish I had that person’s job status, marriage or personality. I wish I had their waistline, hairline, byline or bottom line.”
Your greatest rival got a whopping promotion, lost 25 pounds, looks great, got married to an ex-supermodel turned neurosurgeon, and your only response was, “Good for you! I’m thrilled!”
How about pride? How many of you found all your thoughts this week ran automatically to humility and servanthood. No thoughts of selfish ambition or arrogance. No attempts to manipulate or control others. No self-serving statements. No impression management going on.
How many of you had a pride-free, arrogance-removed week of humility and self-denial — and you’re feeling great about yourself right now? Anybody in that category?
Well, I didn’t. Life in our world usually doesn’t produce those kinds of minds.
But I’ll tell you something I bet did happen during the last 20 minutes or so.
I’ll bet you there’s someone listening to me right now who walked into this building, and you had a problem you couldn’t solve. You had a knot in your stomach that you’ve been carrying around for days.
And we started to worship, and we sang, “There’s joy in the house of the Lord.” We sang, “We sing to the God who heals. We sing to the God who saves. We sing to the God who always makes a way” and something happened inside you. A kind of hope or a trust welled up inside of you, and you started to think it really is true that there is joy in this place and God really can make a way. He can turn things around.
Maybe you remembered that Paul was in prison when he wrote the words, “I can face all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”
Maybe the thought was born inside you that the God who delivered Daniel from the lions and David from Goliath and Elijah from Jezebel can make a way for you.
The thought came to you, God always makes a way and your world is different now because you came to worship.
I’ll bet in the last 20 minutes, someone came into this room, and you were feeling lonely or unloved, because you’re not in the relationship you feel you so desperately need or want.
And then you started to sing, “God, I don’t want anyone else. I don’t need anyone else. Just give me Jesus. You can have all this world. Just give me Jesus.”
And something started to happen in your heart. The desires of your heart started to turn toward God and you realized he is able to meet those needs better than any human being on this earth.
Maybe you came in this room with a hard heart, because there’s an area in which you’re involved in sin, and you refuse to allow the Spirit to convict you of it.
And God is calling you to repent, to receive forgiveness and live in his grace, but you’ve said “No, I’m not going to do it. I’m going to withhold myself from your grace.”
And then we started to sing, “We were beggars, now we’re royalty. We were prisoners, now we’re running free. We are forgiven, accepted, redeemed by his grace.”
I’ll bet there’s someone here today. One of you is listening right now, and your stubborn heart melted, or is melting, and you said to God or are saying to God right now, “I don’t want to live like a beggar or prisoner, I want to be set free. I want your forgiveness. I want to be accepted by you. And I want to live in your grace.”
You came to worship and here’s what happened — you got ambushed by God. You got ambushed by God, and you’re not quite the same right now as you were an hour ago.
And maybe you find yourself thinking, “What if I hadn’t come?”
Now, the main point of the message last week was — worship is about God. We worship God solely because God is worthy, because he is immeasurably, incalculably, unalterably good.
We don’t worship to get something out of it, but because God is so good, when we worship, something happens.
When we worship, here’s what happens — our hearts get full of joy, and we get grateful for what we have, and we get filled up with confidence because we’re reminded that God always makes a way.
We have surrendered spirits, and all of a sudden, something happens inside of us and we want to avoid sin. We want to be a million miles away from it, and we’re humbled.
Even arrogant people like us get humbled before God’s greatness.
We genuinely want to share our faith in this great God with people who don’t know him, and we’re filled with hope for that day when every wounded soul is going to be made whole.
When we worship, that happens.
But when I don’t worship, when I refuse to enter into worship, other things happen in my mind.
I become anxious about tomorrow.
I envy people who have what I don’t.
I develop a sense of entitlement that says “I ought to have this,” and it chokes off my gratitude.
I become negative and judgmental towards other people.
I get discouraged and easily defeated by setbacks.
That’s the non-worshiping mind.
What kind of mind do you want to have? What kind of life do you want to live?
Now, there is no clearer example, I think, in all of Scripture — of the difference between the non-worshiping mind and the worshiping mind, the non-worshiping heart and the worshiping heart — than in Psalm 73.
We’ve already seen the start of it. The psalmist says:
I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Then we see what his life and heart are like.
They have no struggles; [He’s talking about the wicked. They have no struggles.] their bodies are healthy and strong.
They’re beautiful people. They’re wicked, but they’re the kind of people that end up on magazine covers.
They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.
They don’t seem to have financial problems. They defy God and sin boldly, but their careers are flourishing. They vacation wherever they want. They lead the good life. The psalmist says, “I don’t understand this.”
Therefore [because their lives are turning out so well] pride is their necklace;
In other words, pride for them is not something that they bury in their hearts because they’re rightfully ashamed of it. They flaunt it the way that people flaunt jewelry.
Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.
The general idea seems to be that they’re arrogant. They think they’ve got life figured out. They’re opposed to God, but life’s turning out exactly the way they want.
Not just that, verse 10:
Therefore [precisely because their lives are turning out so well] their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.
The people praise them. Instead of them being the object of moral judgment, which by all rights they should be, they’re praised.
They’re the ones that we look up to and everybody says they know how to live. They’re the ones we learn from. They’re the ones that write the books that we read. People find no fault with them.
Worse still, they openly mock God.
They say, “How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?”
In other words, I don’t have to be accountable to God. I don’t have to bow before him. I don’t have to follow his word for my life.
The psalmist says they’re wicked and they openly mock God and God does nothing.
And then the psalmist goes on. He says it’s bad enough they’re doing so well, but, the psalmist says: “What makes it exponentially worse is I’m trying so hard to be righteous and it’s not paying off. I’m in worse shape than they are.”
Look at verse 12:
This is what the wicked are like — always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
Now look at what the psalmist says about himself.
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. [All in vain, because look at my life next to theirs.] All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments.
We don’t know what the plague or punishment consists of, but the psalmist looks at their life and their defiance against God and the fact that God seems to do nothing.
Then he looks on the other side of the scale. “I go to church, I read the Bible, I tithe my salary, I avoid gross sin.”
What’s the payoff? What good is it doing? “I’m not getting bigger houses, newer cars, nicer clothes.”
Do you ever have thoughts like this?
He realizes this is going to kill him. This will destroy his soul.
If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children.
Notice the importance of community here. He’s talking here about his sense of loyalty to the community. That’s the only thing keeping him in the game.
“If I had spoken out like that, I would have betrayed your children.” — My envy could make me disloyal to everything I value.
When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply.
I’m powerless. This doesn’t make any sense, he says. He’s hanging on to his spiritual integrity by a slender thread, and some of you may be as well today.
On the one hand, if he gives in to his cynicism, he will betray everything that has meaning, and has given him identity in the one community where he belongs, and his God.
On the other hand, the unfairness of life and his unhappiness have driven him to the brink of despair.
This is his state of mind — confused, discouraged, bitter, envious, unhappy, far from God, double-minded, tossed forward and backwards, tempted, exhausted. “I can’t make sense of it,” he says.
And then — this is so beautiful — here comes the turning point of the whole psalm. Here comes the hinge upon which his soul swings from death to life.
Verse 17. He’s just walking down the road towards death — despair, darkness.
Until I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
“Until I entered the sanctuary of God,” he says — until I practiced again the discipline of gathering with God’s people even though there was not a happy bone in my body.
It wasn’t until finally I consciously entered the presence of God and encountered his goodness, and devoted myself to worship even though I didn’t feel like it that my thoughts and feelings were turned around 180 degrees, and the way that I looked at the world and myself was flipped upside down, and in worship finally God gave me a sane mind.
He was given three things in worship.
He was given perspective.
Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
The psalmist says, “I realized when I went into worship, when I entered the sanctuary, there’s more to reality than just the stuff that I can see or hear.”
And remember what he said, when I entered the sanctuary, today’s asset list and financial portfolios are not the final word. They are not the way that the score’s going to be kept at the end of the day.
I remembered that every human being is one heartbeat away, just one, from giving an account of their life to a transcendent God who is breathtakingly powerful and utterly just — every human being I see.
That’s why we need to be so committed to evangelism at Blue Oaks — because every human being you see who does not know God is in the slipperiest of places.
No matter what their bank account looks like, no matter how big their house or new their car, they’re one heartbeat away from giving an account of their life to a transcendent God who is breathtakingly powerful and utterly just.
Part of what I need to do is remember that, and allow that reality to shape my prayer life.
Last week I spent some time talking to a guy in our neighborhood. And after that interaction I spent some time praying for him and for my contact with him, because I thought, he’s in a slippery place. He’s one heartbeat away.
I met with a friend recently who doesn’t attend church or believe in God, and before we met I spent some time praying, “God bless our conversation. Open the door to a conversation about you.” Because he’s one heartbeat away.
Do you realize that your friends and neighbors and coworkers — people that you love and people that you envy are in a slippery place? They are one heartbeat away from a holy God.
The psalmist says, in worship it’s like my eyes were opened. It’s like the lights came on. I saw the people that I envied are most to be pitied and reached out to. In worship I was given perspective.
In worship, the psalmist says, I was able to diagnose the condition of my heart.
That’s the second thing that happens in worship. I’m able to diagnose the condition of my heart.
Verses 21 and 22:
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; [He doesn’t hold back here. ] I was a brute beast before you.
I was talking to a friend a couple weeks ago who has a dog and he has an electronic fence to keep the dog in the yard.
I don’t know if any of you are familiar with electronic fences, but the way that they work is there’s some kind of electric shocking kind of things buried under the ground, and then they place some kind of electrode thing or something on the dog, so that if the dog comes to the border where the electronic stuff is buried, it gets a shock.
He was telling me that his own dog has a strong impulse-control disorder and wants to leave the yard on a pretty regular basis, particularly when a girl dog — any girl dog, because this dog’s not choosy — any girl dog happens to walk by.
He said he’ll watch this dog sometimes and a girl dog will go by. He can see his dog just stop for a minute and kind of think to himself, “I’d like to pursue that relationship, but I know there’s going to be pain. Is it worth it?”
The dog will kind of cock his head and say, “Yeah, I think it’s worth it!”
This is what he does — this dog will take off from one end of the yard, build up a full head of steam until he gets to the electronic fence, and the shock is so great because they’ve ramped it up about as high as they can, it’ll knock the dog out.
But his momentum will carry him beyond the border, so this dog just lays there unconscious, in a coma, comes up, shakes himself off and goes running, chasing this girl dog down. Pursues the relationship, but it never lasts and he always comes back home. He always does.
And then he’ll go through it again the next time. He never learns.
It’s not worth it. Dog, it’s not worth it, but he never learns.
Only a dog, right?
The psalmist says, “I was like that. I was like a beast. I was like an animal. I let my mind and my heart violate God’s boundaries.
“I thought I was so righteous. You know the 10th Commandment about coveting and so on. I was living in a nonstop mode of breaking that commandment. Here I thought I was so righteous.
“Fundamental command — love your neighbor as yourself. I couldn’t even get that one right.
“The duty of a God follower, love God and love your neighbor, I couldn’t even do that one, but I thought I was so righteous. I was like a dumb animal.
“I’d just give in to envy, bitterness, self-righteousness, judgmentalism.”
Does that way ever lead to life?
You think that way sometimes. So do I.
Does it ever lead to life, to satisfaction, to fulfillment, to joy?
Only to pain and hurt and regret, yet the psalmist says, “I give in to it time after time after time. I was like a dumb beast until, thank God, one day I entered the sanctuary and I practiced the discipline of worship and I remembered I don’t want to live like that.”
Then this wonderful truth — “In worship I remembered I’m not alone. In worship I remembered, I experienced again the truth — I’m not alone.”
“Nevertheless,” the psalmist says, “here’s the truth about me. My soul was embittered. I was pricked in the heart. I was stupid and ignorant. I was like a brute beast towards God, on a self-destructive, defiant, unloving path. Nevertheless, I, even I, am continually with you.”
And his heart is so overwhelmed with love for God that now you’ll notice he begins to talk directly to God.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
Just think about walking through life with God holding your hand, like a little child with a father holding on to you.
You guide me with your counsel, [You keep me from making stupid mistakes.] and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, [It may happen. I may not ever be one of the beautiful rich people.] but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
The idea here is — it doesn’t mean, obviously, he doesn’t want food or so on. It’s that I don’t want any gift that you don’t want for me, God.
Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
You can just hear the psalmist saying, “What if I hadn’t gone into the sanctuary? What if I’d avoided worship? What if I had neglected the gathering? I would have gone on in bitterness and envy. I would have made stupid decisions. I would have lived with an ungrateful heart.
“I would have been set up for sinful behavior. I would have spoken toxic words. I would have lived blind to the reality of God. I would have thrown my life away. Thank God for the sanctuary,” you can hear him say. “Thank God for the discipline of worship.”
And you know what, Blue Oaks? I think almost every one of us in here would affirm that.
I think we could have a time of sharing, and I would bet virtually everyone in here could stand up and say, “There have been times when I was headed down this Psalm 73 path. I would have made a wrong decision or continued in sin or wallowed in self-pity, but I entered the sanctuary. I practiced the discipline of gathering. I came to worship and I got ambushed by God.”
Thank God for this gathering.
And thank God that we’re aware of the renewing power of worship.
But here’s the defining choice I want to place before you today.
What are you going to do with your mind during the week when you don’t feel like worshiping, when you don’t feel like it.
See, we gather here and there’s great music and we’re with people that we love and we’re focused on powerful words. When that happens, I want to worship. I long to surrender. I’m filled with gratitude, and I want to thank God.
But between now and next week when we gather, you’re going to have times when you don’t feel like worshiping, aren’t you?
On the freeway, or at work when things are all going wrong, or when you have a really bad hair day.
How often are you in an argument with your spouse and your spouse says to you, “You’re just like your mother,” and you say, “Let’s just praise the Lord right now”?
Or if you’re single and you’re on a bad date and you realize not only are you not out with Mr. Right, you’re out with Mr. Terribly Horribly Wrong. How often does that happen and you say, “Let’s just praise the Lord anyway, shall we?”
Sometimes — here’s the truth about me — sometimes I have to argue myself into praise or else my thoughts would go down a different path, just like the psalmist.
Here’s one of Paul’s most staggering statements. Think about this. Paul says in his letter to the church at Corinth, 2 Corinthians 10:5
We take every thought captive to obey Christ.
Now, you just think for a moment about the fact that Paul really means what he’s saying here. That’s quite a staggering undertaking.
Paul is a very wise psychologist about human life, and he understands that whatever the train of our thoughts and feelings and understandings and perceptions, wherever that flows, our behavior will just come out of that.
We can try to deny that train. We can try to force our behavior to be different in isolated moments, but as a general rule, however my thoughts and feelings go, my life’s going to go that way.
I can exercise supreme willpower at crisis moments occasionally maybe, but by and large, if I don’t train the route of my thoughts and feelings, I’m not going to change my life.
So Paul says, “We take every thought captive to obey Christ,” and that’s why he’s so devoted to being a lifelong, all-the-time worshiper, to be saturated with the goodness of God’s presence.
So in the time that’s left, between now and when we leave this place, I want to give you three conditions during this next week in which I think it’s likely you’re going to have to argue yourself into worship — three conditions in which it will be a challenge for you to take every thought captive to obey Christ.
The first one is this — and we’ll look at three places in the Bible where people actually did it — the first one is when someone has hurt you or wronged you.
Let me ask you, when you’re wronged, when you’re hurt, where do your thoughts tend to go?
If someone hurts me — this is just the way that I work on default — I’ll try to convince myself this is a bad person and focus on their flaws. Or my thoughts will just start to run down revenge fantasies where I do things to get even with them. My thoughts will go that way.
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas, who were real people, have been preaching in Philippi. They’ve been sacrificing for the sake of the Gospel.
One of the great works they do is to deliver a slave girl from an evil spirit, an amazing work of God.
You’d think that there would just be an outpouring of gratitude and joy because of their ministry and their deliverance, but there’s not.
The owners of this girl are upset, because they’re going to lose the money they made from her prophesying. They were exploiting her. They were con men.
Acts 16:22 — These men have Paul and Silas arrested, and then it says:
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. (Acts 16:22-24)
Now, let’s pause for a moment.
How would you respond at this point? What would be going through your mind?
You’re trying to serve God. You sacrifice to serve God. You give up comfort, home, financial security and so on to serve God.
The result is you’re attacked by greedy con men, arrested on trumped-up charges, denied your rights, beaten, and placed in chains.
What kind of thoughts would be running through your mind?
Look at verse 25. This is amazing.
About midnight Paul and Silas [beaten, bloodied, imprisoned] were praying and singing hymns to God, [and then this wonderful little afterthought] and the other prisoners were listening to them.
Like they had any alternatives. There were no other channels in that prison. It was all praise all the time. That’s all they had to listen to.
And then verse 26:
Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
Very often in Scripture you’ll find worship is associated with a great outpouring of the power of God.
The jailer’s ready to kill himself. Again, it’s so interesting. Paul doesn’t say, “Well, I guess next time you’ll have to think twice before you start persecuting Christians.” Paul doesn’t say that.
Because of his worship and prayer, his heart is tender and compassionate, and he’s ready to share his faith, extend grace and welcome this man who beat and imprisoned him to be his brother.
This week you’re going to get hurt, so I’m asking you now, will you enter the sanctuary? Will you say, “God, I’m not going to respond to anger like a brute beast; I’m going to acknowledge that you are my Lord, not my anger. I’m going to do my best with your spirit’s help to take every thought captive. I will pray. I will ask for help. I will affirm that you are Lord, even over hurtful circumstances, and I worship you.”
But you need to decide that now. Don’t wait until then.
Alright, the first time you’re going to take thoughts captive is when someone hurts you or wrongs you.
The second time this week when you’re going to have to do it is when you’re disappointed.
How does your mind run when things don’t turn out the way you want? Because they don’t, not for any of us. So what happens then?
My own thoughts — this is just me — will often tend to give in to self-pity or I’ll start feeling sorry for myself or view myself as a victim, and forget God’s many gifts to me — unless I enter the sanctuary.
I want you to look at some staggering words in the Old Testament in Habakkuk 3.
He’s one of the minor prophets towards the end of the Old Testament.
This has got to be one of the most beautiful passages in all of Scripture.
Habakkuk 3:17. You’ll see a remarkable entrance into the sanctuary here. This is what Habakkuk says at the end of his prophetic words when he views devastation all around him — disappointment, nothing turning out right.
Habakkuk 3:17, this is what he says.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
Now, before we go on, you have to remember, this is an agricultural society, so what he’s describing here is total devastation. Total devastation, ruin, hopeless circumstances. There’s nothing else.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; [not produce and not flocks, not portfolios and not financial assets, not popularity or power or status.] he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
I don’t know how else to say it, but you’re going to be disappointed this week. People will let you down. Finances will fluctuate. Something in your career will not turn out the way you want.
What are you going to do?
Now, of course, there’s a time for grieving over loss and pain. The writer of Ecclesiastes says there’s a time to mourn.
But there’s also a time for this defiant spirit of worship that says no circumstance in the world has the power to separate me from the love of God that is mine in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So you’ve got to figure out how Habakkuk 3:17 would be written for you. Maybe you need to write it out. —
Though the Dow Jones drops 50 percent, though Social Security runs out, though I’m unemployed, though I’m divorced, though relationships have disappointed me, though I didn’t get the parents or the spouse or the children I hoped for, though I have cancer, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. The sovereign Lord is my strength. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer. He enables me to tread on the heights.
This week when you’re disappointed, will you enter the sanctuary?
The third thing that’s going to happen this week when you’re going to have to take thoughts captive is you’re going to be afraid.
When I’m afraid, I can get tempted to give up, just avoid, take the easy way out, try to escape.
The last passage of Scripture is 2 Chronicles 20. It’s the story of Juda and King Johoshaphat. He’s the king and the people of God’s enemies are marching against them, and they’re vast. It’s a vast army that they’re facing, a number of nations, and we’re told in verse 3 that Johoshaphat was afraid.
Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.
Now we pick it up in verse 12. This is Johoshaphat praying now.
Our God, will you not judge them? [the enemies] For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord. Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, [Lots of sons. You don’t really need to know about them.]
On to verse 17. This is the word of the Lord that comes to the people. This is what God says.
You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.
Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
They faced insurmountable odds, were filled with fear, sought the Lord. God said, “Praise me, give me worship,” and they did.
Now, picture this scene. Johoshaphat sends out a team before the army, not of warriors but of worshipers, and they go out singing. We don’t know what the music was.
I imagine them singing “Trust in God” and kind of hopping across the plain.
In the midst of opposition and fear, they entered the sanctuary, and they worshiped and praised God and the world looked different to them. They realized God is much bigger than their problems.
This week you’re going to be afraid sometime. Will you worship; and then live in boldness — have the hard conversation, share your faith even though you’re afraid to?
Here’s the key point in all of this — in each of these situations, worship came first and then transformation.
The psalmist went into the sanctuary even while the wicked were still prospering and while he was still tempted to give in to envy. Even when the temptation was still going on, he went in and worshiped and then everything changed.
Paul and Silas worshiped before the earthquake, while they were still in prison.
Habakkuk praised God while the vines were still empty and the fields were still barren and the flocks were still gone. The Israelites advanced and praised while the enemy armies were still intact.
In every case, worship was, as it always is, at least in part, a discipline, an act of faith, a statement of trust.
And now it’s up to us. Now it’s your day. This is your chance this week.
You’re going to be tempted like the psalmist.
You’re going to be hurt like Paul and Silas.
You’re going to be disappointed like Habakkuk.
You’re going to be afraid like Johoshaphat.
You can, if you want to, live in envy and discouragement and resentment and fear. You can live with a non-worshiping mind.
Or you can take every thought captive and you can enter into the sanctuary and you can worship this great God and get your whole world turned upside down.
I hope you choose that one.
Alright, let’s pray as the team comes to lead us in worship.
Blue Oaks Church