Human Praise That is Off Key

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After my finger episode, my eyes were opened to a different reality.  I saw all my seeking for a tangible touch from God being trumped by my experiencing Christ as worship.  I’m not saying that praise and worship isn’t valid—it’s beautiful and brings us, His body, together to focus our gaze on our God with adoration for Him.  But I am saying that my perspective on worship changed.

Praise and Worship

Praise and Worship
I had struggled with praise for years. I felt most was canned, formulaic, and man-centered. It just felt off key. Something just left me empty with most of what was called worship in Christendom.  But plain and simple, maybe my motivation for worship was to baksheesh God, so that He would be pleased with me and come and touch me. He wasn’t interested in my tip however.  He wouldn’t be manipulated by my attempts to sweet-talk Him.  No, in my life He was assuring it was going to be His way alone.

I do worship and I use music to praise God. But as I’ve talked about on recent podcasts, it’s going to be His movement and anointing that I seek.  My consistent question is, “Where are You resting?” I’ve listened to a single song over and over for days if the Spirit of the Living God rested on it. I would rather sit in silence than to attempt to force something.  And my experience of Christ during my injury upped the ante in how I sought Him.

Now, I’m not saying I still don’t seek to experience God’s touch, because that would be a lie.  I absolutely want Him to express His love for me. It’s just that my understanding of what that might look like has been broadened.  Where before I’d tried to extract love from God – especially in moments of depression, stress or fear – after the juicing episode, that changed.

True Praise and Seeking to Love God

True Praise and Seeking to Love God
At that point, I had the thought, “Wow, why don’t I seek to focus my attention on loving Him rather than a narcissistic seeking to BE loved by Him?” I know this isn’t novel but it was foreign to my way of thinking. I think somewhere in my thoughts I figured, “He is God. He has everything and knows everything – I’m the needy one here!” But this isn’t at all right.

First, I have something He’s unable to receive anywhere else in all of creation—my love. I’m the only one who can give it. It’s my gift and it’s solely mine to bestow. He can’t acquire it anywhere else. So if I withhold it from Him, He will never receive it.

Second, and more importantly, satisfaction in love is to give not receive. I know this stomps on many wounds – including my own – but it’s just true. It’s the very nature of love. One (and I do mean ONE) of the reasons divorce runs rampant is because we have tons of broken people all looking to “get loved.” Love is not for the purpose of acquisition – love yearns to give. There is no growth in simply receiving love. Character and dignity comes from loving, not in being loved.

Though being loved can heal us, it’s when love pours out of us that we see real growth and maturing. I always assumed the scripture: “It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35) was just concerning physical gifts. What I’ve discovered is the best gift to give is love!

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 10:27 ESV

Comments:

Posted by Cindy Pollard
April 15, 2014 at 8:02 pm

I believe that I can only love to the degree that He first loved me. That is why I go to the cross every day and see Him on the cross. It is there I take communion & gaze on the Lamb. After all, it the Lamb we are going to marry. But if I don’t meet Him at the cross, I end up somewhere in La La Land trying to grope for His love. It is in His blood I find forgiveness and compassion for my heart. Then I can believe & receive His love for me. Then I can whole heartedly worship in grateful adoration. Then I can pour out my love to Him. I believe my relationship starts with receiving His love, and then I can pour out my love to Him & others.

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Posted by Tina
April 14, 2014 at 12:32 pm

“Though being loved can heal us, it’s when love pours out of us that we see real growth and maturing.” Yes, this is what the Father is doing in me and teaching me. Healing comes when in brokenness I let His love flow like a river to me and through me not for me. In giving I have begun to receive. It is a sacrifice that requires faith, submission, humility, obedience but then it becomes freedom, rest, joy and strength. Fear is the only thing that kept me from love, dying, loosing my life, brings His perfect love and removes all fear.

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Posted by Tammy
April 14, 2014 at 6:32 am

Yes!

About half way through I found myself smiling…ear-to-ear…and it hasn’t subsided! “Love is not for the purpose of acquisition – love yearns to give.” “…the best gift to give is love.” AMEN!

It may sound a bit silly to most – but in our marriage, we have purposed to “out consider” one another. Sometimes it can get comical…sometimes frustrating (where would you like to eat dear? oh, wherever you’d like to eat honey…) but in the end it’s loving another above self, and God blesses.

The Fathers all consuming love for me…deserves more than I can ever give in and of myself. It is only through Him that I can even begin to love Him as He loves me. “I” fail…but He NEVER fails so I will look to Him (powered only through prayer) every moment and in every circumstance to respond to where He has me in worship and in love.

How beautiful a gift He has given you (and us) in your testimony John. Bless you for your obedience in continually sharing the steps of your most intimate walk – for the benefit of the Body.

Love.

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