Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Worship: It's That Important (Part 4)

In fact, we can see the preferences of God the Creator whenever we experience the world around us. He made the ocean a deep blue because that’s the way He wanted it to be. God designed the wind to howl in the winter here on the Outer Banks because that’s how He likes it. He created the rain to feel wet and the snow to feel cold just because that's simply what made Him happy.

Not only has He created everything we see and know on the earth, God is also largely responsible for my personality. Yes, our personalities are, in many ways, shaped by our families, our culture, our experiences, but it’s simple science that says each of us come out of the womb with unique personality traits, and I believe that it was God who made us the way we are.

Listen how Psalm 139 describes how the God of the universe knows everything about us…that He literally made us to be who we are before we ever saw our first day on earth:

(begin Ramon)

Psalm 139:1-4, 13-16
1 O Lord, You have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in Your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

(end Ramon)

Whether you want to believe it or not, it was God who created you. And, I have to believe that it wasn’t just our physical features that God was working on…He was also shaping our personalities, and He has been using my family, culture and other aspects of my unique life to continue to help form my personality into what it is today. And that the same thing holds true for each of you.

If I believe that God has and is still playing an active role in shaping my personality, I must also believe that He has a purpose for doing so, and that this purpose must involve moving me toward becoming more like Him.

There are certainly things about myself that I do not like or know are not what God has intended for me. For example, I tend to be impatient, overly-critical, selfish and sometimes lazy…these are things that God does not want to see in me. We call these negative things “sin”.

There are also things about who I am that I see as good and God-honoring…these are traits that I believe God desires to see in every believer, things that I can only attribute to the fact that I was created in His image and am being transformed by His Spirit. I would identify these positive things as being a part of my character.

And, there are things about my personality that I consider to be neutral…the things that are unique to me that are not in and of themselves good or bad. I would identify these things as my personal preferences. These neutral traits are things like my favorite color, clothing style, food, learning style, music style.

These are the things that really make my personality unique from anyone else…the things that set me apart from everyone else. I believe that God played a part in forming these things as well, and that His desire is to see me use these traits to worship Him.

So, I have to believe that, if God helped and is helping to shape my personality (again, the good and neutral aspects of it), He also must take delight in me when I allow these traits to be expressed in my life. Throughout the Bible, we see God telling us how happy we make Him when we reflect His creation and His nature back to Him.

Read Ephesians 1:5 with me:

“Because of His love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ He would make us His children – this was His pleasure and purpose.”

God delights in us, gets pleasure from us, rejoices in us, enjoys us, and even laughs at and with us! Anything we do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship, and I truly believe that He loves to see the personalities that He has shaped in us being expressed through our lives.

I can picture God grabbing one of His angels right now and pointing at me and saying something like, “Take a look at Nate and that crazy orange shirt…I helped him pick that shirt out!” or maybe about you sometime this week, He's says, “Do you see him/her showing compassion to that person…like Me, like son/daughter!” He enjoys watching my personality reflect Himself.

And, He loves to see your unique personality come out of you in how you worship Him.

In fact, we’re going to take a few minutes right now to give you an opportunity to worship Him in your own unique way. We’re going to sing a song the most of us are familiar with, and at certain points in this song, there won’t be any singing going on…just music, and that’s your opportunity to think or say or do whatever you want to express your worship to God.

You can sit, stand, kneel, dance, jump, clap, sing loudly, meditate quietly…whatever way you want to worship Him right now is OK, as long as it is bringing glory to Him.

Song - "How Great Is Our God/Hallelujah" by Chris Tomlin and Hillsong United (this is the first time we used "Hallelujah"...I was listening to some Hillsong United a few weeks ago, and this song came on and I thought how perfectly it would fit with "How Great Is Our God" turned out really well)

(Tomorrow I'll post Part 5...Check out the other parts of this series: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)


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