I will praise the name of God with a song;… (Ps 69:30).
Praise the Lord, God is good, are terms we love to throw out as Christians. Yet, God desires not our lips, but our hearts. We cannot hide behind our lips what really lies within our hearts. We can try to do it with our fellowman, but we cannot, nor will we ever hide what we truly believe in our hearts from the Almighty.
God is taking me on a journey, past the amens, and praise the Lord, into the halls of the deepest recesses of my heart. I am recognizing there are things within those parts of my heart that I do not care for. There are parts of me that struggle to trust God. It’s in those dark places I’m recognizing how much I battle to surrender my will to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are pieces of me that want to throw up a fist and say, “It’s not fair!” I don’t like those parts God is showing me.
Our church culture tends to stay safe on the surface. We measure growth by what we do, not who we become. We say we want to make disciples, but first and foremost, we must be willing to become one ourselves. Which means letting God go into the places where we have believed someone erroneously wrong about Him.
We’d rather smile and throw up a Praise the Lord! Then, be honest with the fact that we are deeply battling against some wrong belief about Him. We feel like our honesty makes us less spiritual, but quite frankly, we’re all the same. All of us battle against the fears that reside deep within us. To negate this reality keeps not just us, but our church communities from deeper transformation.
I believe one of the reasons why we often don’t feel comfortable to share what’s really going on in our lives is because we’re always asking ourselves the question, “if I share, will this person still accept me?” A voice within our heart says, “no, they won’t. They’ll believe you to be unspiritual and unfit for Christian service.”
However, if this was the case, we should all sit quietly in our homes and never venture to do anything for Jesus. Then, wait for all the perfect people who have it all together to rise up to do work for the Kingdom. It could also be that our church cultures have not created a place to be real, raw and honest about who we are. This means we must change the way we’re doing church.
Since our culture is so obsessed with performance we believe God is too. We measure our level of worth with God based on what we can accomplish for Him, not who we can become for Him. Could it be that the greatest growth comes not through our programs, but through His people? As God grows His people, He grows His church.
This type of approach requires a complete shift in our thinking. It means we must be willing to go with others to hard places and we must be willing to do the same. It means that church isn’t driven by programs, but by relationships centered on love, accountability, honesty, and transparency.
I am learning all of this, but it’s getting tripped up on its way into my heart. Pray for me, as I will pray for you, that God will strip away from me wrong beliefs and thoughts about Him. Which have wrongfully created within me a fear to trust Him. A fear to let go. A fear to believe that He really is enough for me, even when I feel like I’m wading out in the sea.
God, you know that I struggle. Yet, I want to be more like you. This is a hard journey you and I are on. You never promised it would be easy, but you did promise to never leave me nor forsake me. You did promise that your grace would be sufficient for me. I long for more of that grace to fill my heart and I long for the words, “I trust you,” to not just be words from my lips, but ones I actually believe in my heart. In Jesus name, Amen.