Monday, January 21, 2013

on worship // the burn out.

"We were created to worship."  
This is an often-repeated statement that carries heavy weights of purpose and identity - and yet, has lost its context over time.  In fact, it has been so far removed from context, that it caused many of us to adopt a false view of ourselves, as well as a skewed understanding of God.  Because we were "created to worship," we have taken times of worship not just for exaltation, but as a time of intense seeking, pursuing, and finding God.  So at the point that we cannot find Him or He has not spoken, we are left distraught, defeated, and empty.  It feeds an idea that we are failing in our life purpose.  Was I not created to worship?  Then why, in all my pouring out, do I feel unfulfilled?

It is at this point that the common excuse is laid on the table: I feel burnt out.

But the Biblical truth about worship is that it should not burn you out.  Worship ought to leave you refreshed, fulfilled, and restored.  There is no reason why Jesus would contradict Himself, when He beckons us to come to Him to find rest; when "He satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed…" (Ps 103).  So why does worship sometimes feel like a losing battle for some fairy-tale victory?

Innately, every human being is wound up with needing a sense of purpose and destiny.  It is borne into our spirits to discover why we exist and how we can feel fulfilled.  So when we hear it drilled into our Christian sermon cache: "We were created to worship," it turns into the food of our identity.  This is why I was born.  My life should revolve around this.  Unfortunately, the statement does not often come with the Truths that need to pad it.  Here is what I mean:

If you were created to worship, then what does it mean to worship?  Without the Word, the individual can spend a restless time figuring out and defining what worship is.  It can turn downright obsessive, trying to find the right techniques or following the correct formula to usher in the presence of God.  They observe other worship teams, other leaders, try to sing the right songs or pray a certain passionate prayer.  But then, when one cannot find the right methods, or if the presence does not come the way they expect it to - this is what makes the person feel burnt out.  It's what makes the person feel like a failure.  I was born to worship, and I cannot find God.  I am exhausted.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not Love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
I Corinthians 13.1

Above being created to worship, we were created to love.

Being created to worship does not infer that He is an insecure God that needs multitudes to boost His ego. It does not mean that God would not exist without us feeding Him our praises.   Therefore, being created to worship does not mean that we need to figure out all the right ways to keep Him alive and happy, lest He kills us.  I know that sounds extreme, but they are underlying lies worded in different forms that hinder us from truly worshipping.  We do not worship because of the ungodly fear of the unknown.  We worship foremost because we love.  We were created to worship, because we were created to love.

A person who worships from a heart of love will always out-run a person who worships because of duty.  Worship becomes a natural response from a heart of love, not a contrived and forced act out of fear.  And that is when worship is born - when we realize that He loves us first.  God created us for fellowship.  He created us for Love.  And we love because HE first loved us.  True worship comes from a place of willingness; out of a response to being loved by God.  If we fully understood that He is constantly chasing after our hearts and yearning for our nearness, drawing closer to us as we draw closer to Him, we would not feel so alone and empty in our worship.

Worship is our response to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father.
- Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline

up next: Being Sought by God.

Blessed Be Your Name
None But Jesus
At the Cross

The Presence of God

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