Sunday, March 18, 2007

The House of the Lord

Have you ever gone to church to worship and come away just not feeling the Holy Spirit at all. For some reason while you were there or during the course of the worship service you just didn't experience God like you had hoped or thought you would?

Going to God's house can be either a chore or a delight. It can be a burden or a refreshing rewarding experience. The determining factor for the way we experience worship is in direct relation to our attitude toward God.

Psalm 122:1 says... I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the Lord."

The psalmist was delighted to go into the house of the Lord. He was thankful for the opportunity to worship. He rejoiced to worship with God's people in God's house. For him there was no other place he would rather be. So what is it that can prevent us from having this same delight in worship?

Going to church can be a chore if we have unconfessed sin that we haven't addressed with God. maybe we lost our focus and we've drifted away from God and his holy living. Our relationship with our Heavenly father has cooled and become distant. When we get this way we really do find it a chore to go to church and much of this burden comes from the Holy Spirit convicting our heart of our sin. It's tough to sit in church and worship with God's people when we have issues that we need to be leaving at the feet of Jesus. If you find yourself struggling to worship then pray and ask God to reveal to you where you need to change. What behaviors do you need to crucify? What relationships to you need to restore? Whatever the issue or issues, you most likely already know what they are, if not ask God to reveal to you what they are then confess and repent.

When we are close to God and we're living for Him as we should, we will be eager and excited to go to the house of the Lord. Going to church will be a joy! Experiencing God through worship in His house with His people will be a wonderful thing. Remember... our attitude towards God determines our view of worship.

I think it's important to always remember that God's Holy Spirit is always present. If I fail to feel Him or see Him it's not because He's not there. It's always been because of where I am in my relationship with Christ. If I'm sinning and not living like I know God expects me to, then I begin to feel ashamed or less interested in Church or worship. I begin to pray less and I begin to read my bible less. I begin to make excuses to somehow justify why I do what I do. All this does is take me further and further away from God. I begin to distance myself from Him and it's very difficult to worship God when I know I'm not clean. Thank the Lord though that when I recognize what's happening I repent, I run back to Him and ask for His forgiveness. He always forgives me and once again I'm eager to go to the house of the Lord to worship. I also enjoy being with God's people and being in His house. It's a wonderful experience.

My challenge however is to remain faithful. I need to stop being tossed about like the waves of the ocean. I know better and I do desire to live for Him. I believe that a man who keeps sinning over and over again with the same issues hasn't realized that he has the power to be victorious over his sin through Christ. It's an excuse we use to convince ourselves that we're ok. But by the Holy Spirit's conviction we know we're not ok. God's word (the bible) teaches us how we need to live. The bible is our instruction manual for life, yet we don't read it as if our life depended upon following it. We don't live it and we're hypocritical in our actions. We need to recommit our lives to Him. We need to make a commitment to live for Him. It's a decision that WE make. God helps us, after we make that decision. Until we make a decision to live for Him, we won't live for Him because we're not committed.

God committed His life to us when He sacrificed His Son Jesus to die on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sinfulness. Aren't you thankful that God is committed to you?

The next time you're going to church and it's a chore to do so or you are not experiencing God during the worship service, don't look at others and wonder why it's not happening, look inside and know that the problem is most likely there. Confessing our sin is the first step to being reconciled and restored in our faith. We should all be thankful and be able to say... I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the Lord."

I'll see you in church! God bless you.

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