No Such Thing As A Casual Worshiper

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1).

“Make life choices that reveal the supreme worth of God above what the world values supremely” ~ John Piper[1]

It doesn’t seem to me like David is a casual worshiper, as though there could be such a thing.  Instead, he says, “Because [God’s] steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you” (V. 3).  He goes on to say, “I will bless you as long as I live” (V. 4).  His soul was satisfied in God (V. 5).  Even when he should have been sleeping, he couldn’t help but think about God (V. 6).  He says, “My soul clings to you,” and he rejoices in God (V. 8, 11).  Because of how precious God is to him, he urged the congregation of worshipers with these words: “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us” (Ps. 62:8).

When I read these words from David, I can’t help but wonder about the level of commitment some of us have, myself included.  Is God simply an add-on to my life or is he my main focus? So often in the busyness of life God is relegated to the sidelines while I’m preoccupied with my own stuff (pardon the technical language).

God speaks to us through this Psalm by bursting our selfishness into pieces, reminding us that he is everything.  And because he’s everything, he deserves our full allegiance.  And giving God our full allegiance sometimes means putting other things in our life to death.

1.  We may have to end a relationship or a friendship.  I’ll never forget when I heard shai linne say, “Sometimes we have to die socially in order to grow spiritually.”  In 1 Cor. 15:33 Paul said, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”  We need to let go of those things in our lives that are stopping us from serving God with reckless abandon.

2.  We need to realize that this won’t always be easy.  But Jesus never said it would be.  In Matt. 10:34-38, for example, he said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.   For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.   And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

Francis Chan is right: “If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream.”[2]  This kind of life is only possible if, like David, we find so much satisfaction in God that we couldn’t care less what others think of us.  Only then can we say with Paul, “To live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

3.  We must come to realize that giving our lives away in service to Jesus is the good life.  Many people throughout history have sought the good life.  Some thought it was found in salacious sensuality while others believed it was secured through self-abasement.  No, only Jesus has the correct answer: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:34).  In loving and serving others we find the purpose for which God created us.  Spurgeon put it this way: “It is our duty and our privilege to exhaust our lives for Jesus. . . .  [W]e are to spend and to be spent, not to lay ourselves up in lavender, and nurse our flesh.”[3]  God redeemed us so that so that we might do good works in his name.  This has been his
plan from all eternity (Eph. 2:10).  The good news is that God’s grace is working out in
our lives to bring these good deeds to fruition (Phil. 2:12-13).  May we see the practical effect of our love for God in moving us to serve him in ways that reveal his greatness and display his worth.

O God, give us eyes to behold the beauty of your Son.  And being captivated by his majestic beauty, may we find our only lasting satisfaction.  Then, cause us to be willing to lay our lives down so that others might be entranced by that same love and beauty.

[1] John Piper, A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life (Sisters: Multnomah, 1997), 63.

[2] Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God (Colorado Springs: David Cook, 2008), 95.

[3] Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2010), 162.


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