We can “say” all we want to that we desire to draw closer to Him, but if we are not walking it out, we are deceiving ourselves. Pursuit is the proof of desire. In this week’s message, “Close As I Want To Be,” we will take an honest look at where we are really at.
I’m sure if I took a poll of believers across the Body of Christ, and asked the question, “Would you like to have a closer relationship with God?” most if not all would say “Yes”!
Years ago, while my husband was preaching, he asked the same question in the context of his message. Of course, everyone in our congregation raised their hand. Then the Lord spoke to me something that took me back. His Word exposed a religious mindset that so easily goes undetected. There is nothing in our mind or heart that is hidden from His sight, even though it may be hidden from our own.
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Heb. 4:12-13 (NIV)
What the Lord said was, “Each one is just AS CLOSE TO ME AS THEY WANT TO BE.” Wow! The Lord has a way of just cutting to the chase. His Word truly judges the thoughts, attitudes, motives and intents of our heart.
We all may say we want a closer walk with God, but our actions tell on us what the truth really is. Pursuit is the proof of desire. What we pursue with our actions, not just our fine sounding words, is what we show we truly desire.
All of us are experts at making excuses. We can blame the lack of time, our schedule, kids, exhaustion, and a host of other reasons. It’s not that all of these things aren’t valid uses of our time, because they are. We all have natural responsibilities that must be attended to. But it is amazing how we “find” time to do the things we really “want” to do.
If each of us, whether pastor, prophet, or pew dweller, will be brutally honest with ourselves, we are as close to Him as we want to be. Please, I want you to say this out loud, “I am as close to the Lord as I want to be.” How did you feel when you said that?
For most, conviction flooded your heart and soul with the nakedness of that truth. For others, there may be a sense of consoling one’s self with “I’m doing the best I can.” Still for others, there may be a resistance to what is being said altogether.
This message today is not to bring condemnation in any way. Besides my desire to communicate the Word of the Lord, I believe it is important, indeed imperative that our walk and talk be rooted and grounded in truth.
“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” Psalms 51:6 (NIV)
We sing a lot of songs that all too often we are not totally walking. One morning years ago, as I was leading worship in our church, I was so grieved in my spirit. We were singing the song, “I give you my heart.” The words to the chorus are:
Lord I give You my heart
I give You my soul
I LIVE FOR YOU ALONE
Every breath that I take
Every moment I’m awake
Lord have Your way in me
It really hit me how dishonest and religious we can be. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE THIS SONG! What I am saying has nothing to do with this or any other song. It has to do with the integrity of our hearts. It has to do with worshipping the Lord in spirit and truth.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24 (NIV)
Worshipping God in spirit is worshipping Him from the depths of our being. It is a heart that is loving and adoring Him. It is not confined to a song or an outward form.
“The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)
We see in these last two Scriptures, He is looking for the HEART of a WORSHIPPER. God is not looking for worship, He’s looking for worshippers. And if we are not worshipping Him in spirit and in truth, then we are not worshippers.
As a worship leader and musician, I love playing and singing some of the great worship songs that the Lord is blessing the Body of Christ with. We rehearse to get the sound right and play skillfully for the Lord. But I continue to learn more and more, that it’s not about the music. It’s not about the song. It’s about the heart. The music is just a form and vehicle for our worship. And if we have the form without the substance, then we just have great music. It will please the ear but never touch hearts for eternity.
There’s an old song Matt Rudman wrote called “Heart of Worship” that articulates this so clearly. Here are the words:
When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart
I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Than the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart
I’m coming back to a heart of worship
And it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry for the thing I’ve made it
‘Cause it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus
“Each one is just AS CLOSE TO ME AS THEY WANT TO BE!” – Selah
Please take some time and meditate on what adjustments or changes need to be made that your walk would be lined up with your talk.