20 Jan 2009
The odds are pretty good that if you are looking at this page today you have more than a passing interest in true worship and God-powered, effective ministry. If this is true about you, let’s look together at some scriptures that give us direction regarding how to worship the King in spirit and truth.
Personal worship and ministry are inextricably linked together, as effective ministry will only flow out of a heart of one who is a consistently true worshipper of God. We do not manufacture ministry …. we are distributors. True ministry always finds its power and effectiveness in and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Those who consistently worship God in spirit and truth [abiding in Christ] can not fail to have an effective ministry ….. God will see to it.
To worship God in spirit and truth we need to strive to become like Jesus. He brought the greatest glory to God while walking on earth, and He will demonstrate powerful ministry at the end of the age, as He executes the final victory for God over the enemy of our souls. If we desire to become like Jesus we will do well to begin our focus in the area of humility as many of the other aspects of becoming like Jesus flow out of, or have humility as a prerequisite.
This has proven for me to be quite a bit easier to share than to practice. A few days ago while meeting with a friend the Holy Spirit gave me what seemed to be sound wisdom to encourage and guide my friend. On the way home while at a gas station I was very short with the attendant for a very picky little issue. Going home from the gas station the conviction of the Spirit was very strong and heavy.
As I confessed to the Lord that I had been completely out of line with the gas station attendant, I was struck with the contrast between the interaction with my friend and the lady at the gas station. It was then that the Holy Spirit revealed to me my pride. You see, as I drove from the meeting with my friend to the gas station I was thinking about what the Spirit had led me to share and during this reflection I began to think of this insight as if it were from me.
I actually told myself that this encouragement and direction was really pretty good. By the time I reached the gas station I was just before giving myself a gold star. This kind of embezzlement of God’s glory in my life very often resides completely in my mind. Never the less the act of thinking proud thoughts is sin. God will not give us a pass on this. And when we sin the sin of pride we have the promise from God’s word …. we are just before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 (AMP)
18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Who will get the glory ?
The great spiritual battle between God and Satan is centered on who will be worshipped; this battle is all about glory. Who will get the glory? You and I are players who participate in this battle, and we are constantly giving glory to someone. We either give glory to God or we give glory to our enemy. A simplified perspective is; when we are not giving glory to God we are giving glory to Satan. Of course, a significant portion of this glory given to Satan looks like taking glory for ourselves.
Do you like to receive glory from men? When we seek glory for ourselves, we are in fact giving glory to Satan and supporting his agenda. We are born, in the flesh, the natural man, with a very strong desire to receive glory. Pride, therefore, is our great nemesis ….. it robs from us the fantastic joy of God found in true worship and effective ministry.
God hates pride. Pride comes first on the list of things that God hates.
Proverbs 6:16-17 (AMP)
16 These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, …..
Becoming like Christ
In Philippians chapter two we find strong encouragement to become like Christ, to have the same attitudes as Christ, and to act from these attitudes as Christ acted.
Philippians 2:3-11 (NASB77)
3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;
4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
God the Father exalted Jesus the Son and with the result, God is greatly and gloriously glorified! We see here the gold standard as it relates to worship and ministry. From perfect humility [did not grasp His rights, became a servant, humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross] Jesus put Himself in a worshipful position that allowed God to exalt Him and equip Him for an eternity shattering ministry which brought and will continue to bring awesome glory to the Father.
Jesus became the clay in the hands of the Master potter.
Humility brings blessings.
1 Peter 5:5 (AMP)
5 Likewise, you who are younger and of lesser rank, be subject to the elders (the ministers and spiritual guides of the church)—[giving them due respect and yielding to their counsel]. Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another. For God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful)—[and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble.
How to Worship God
As God is instructing Moses in Exodus chapter twenty He gives him the Ten Commandments. [Ex. 20: 3-17] Later in this chapter in verses 23 - 25 God repeats the ideas from the first commandment and then gives Moses instruction on how His people are to worship Him.
Exodus 20:23-25 (AMP)
23 You shall not make [gods to share] with Me [My glory and your worship]; gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves.
24 An altar of earth you shall make to Me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name and cause it to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.
25 And if you will make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone, for if you lift up a tool upon it you have polluted it.
Notice, this instruction from the first and foremost of the commandments is about who will get the glory. God is instructing us on how to give Him glory.
1. We must sacrifice
2. We must not put our stamp [ hewn stone / personal glory ] on our worship.
Paul instructed us in Romans 12 that we should be a living sacrifice. The first thing on the alter of our living sacrifice should be our pride. Pride and true worship can not co-exist. Pride and effective God-powered ministry can not co-exist. In order to give worship that is a pleasing aroma to God we must humble ourselves in the sight of God. This is not an outward humbling as with the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. It is an internal humbling of our heart.
Notice the command not to use hewn stones for our alters. We must not allow any subtle attempts to put our stamp on ministry …. to call attention to ourselves. This is simply put, pride. God must get all the glory. We are His subjects in worship; His junior partners in ministry, but we are not His partners in His glory. We are to give Him all glory and honor and praise and not withhold even a mite for ourselves. Have you ever worshiped on a polluted alter?
In practical terms how do we begin the process of gaining humility and rooting out pride from our lives, from our worship, and our ministry?
First we must ask the Lord to examine our hearts. Is the matter of my humility important to me? If you are like most people, you will have feelings and attitudes that seem normal and therefore often do not stand out as pride. Ask God to shine the search light of the Holy Spirit on the pride in your life.
Some Pride/Humility examples:
Do you always rejoice when a co-worker is praised or receives special recognition?
How do you feel when others are invited to a meeting or event and you are not?
Are you willing to take a demotion in order to allow another person to be hired or reassigned, or promoted? [Nearly all comparison has deep roots in pride]
Can you think of other examples from your life? Please write out additional examples on a separate paper.
Our culture is so steeped in pride that the thoughts and actions that are motivated by pride often seem to us very normal. If you are serious about enhancing your worship and ministry you should seriously consider this challenge:
- Daily ask the Lord to reveal to you your acts, attitudes, or thoughts that stem from pride.
- Make a humility / pride daily diary.
- Ask the Lord to provide the power and insight for you to stamp out pride from your life.
1 Peter 5:6 (AMP)
6 Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,
Our great God will bless this journey!