During my devotion time this morning, my mind traveled to the multitude of local churches, conventions and assemblies I have attended or minister in. Going all the way back to the youth camps of my childhood and the local church services with the old wooden pews. I remembered the times of worship and the moments that I experienced the Presence of the Lord in such a special way.
I also began to reminisce about the many different times the Lord has used someone to speak a word of encouragement or even prophecy into my life and ministry. This caused something to stir deep on the inside of me, especially when I recognize the difficult times we are in, and the group of children and young people who are growing up in a world that was so different than mine.
With children of my own, and now grandchildren, I am more determined than ever before to continue the legacy that was passed on to me by those brave soldiers of the cross who were the mothers and fathers of not only our movement, but the many others who shaped my thinking and spiritual formation.
It was then that this thought came to me; “The Lord God is Holy. He demands, seeks and honors those who understand that principle. If you really want to draw close to Him in your worship, then examine your heart and motives. Purge everything that is unholy, questionable or prideful, and you will find His warm embrace.”.
I have watched as people have been carried away in a spirit of worship, oblivious to their surroundings and absolutely lost in the Presence of the Lord. Yet, sadly I have also watched as others have tried to “stir something up,” to cause them to have an emotional experience that will only carry them as far as the door of the church.
There is more to serving the Lord than singing a few songs and listening to a sermon…there is the moment when we press into the Glory of God, desiring not His hand but also His face. The problem that most often prevents this is sin.
Now, I’m not talking about what some have termed sin that is nothing more than tradition or local customs; thinks such as how long or short hair should be, and whether or not you sing from a song book or from off the wall. I’m talking about real sin that leads to personal and corporate destruction in the lives of not only believers, but also the innocent people who happen to know them. I am talking about adultery, fornication, bearing false witness, taking what doesn’t belong to you. These are serious sins that cause the body to suffer and leads to the destruction of those who refuse to purge themselves from it.
These sins keep us from the Presence of a Holy God, and thwart our spiritual progress and victory in our lives. These are the sins that go unconfessed, and therefore unforgiven in the life of those who attend church. They lead on to gossip, pride and iniquity of all types.
Perhaps we are more caught up with the politics of the world…whether the democrat or republican, liberal or conservative are in power. While it is important to elect Godly leaders is is shameful when that is all we think about, and leads to a generation that sells their soul for a political party that has nothing be their own self-interest in mind, we must not forget that we are a subject (note I didn’t say citizen) of the Kingdom of God, and thus our focus must return there over and over.
Lives filled with sin and wrongly directed energy rob us of the victory that came at the price of the cross and causes us to squander valuable time.
God demands holiness from us. He demands a clear mind, a pure heart and clean hands. We can never press into His holiness until we possess these traits. Trying to worship without these, only leads to a life barren of the power of God, and puts on a show to the world around us, who are dying and going to a devil’s hell.
God help us! God turn your church back to holiness…touch our lives, purify us, don’t let us “sell out” in this wicked generation.