Read His Words Before Ours!
On Sundays, we read Scripture, sing of grace, and quietly pray.
Some simply observe, while others experience something powerful.
Why the disparity between worshipper’s experience?
Is “worship” the songs preceding the sermon?
Is it a reverent attitude with which we approach God?
Could it be both, and more?
In His encounter with the Samaritan woman, Jesus outlines the sort of worshipers He seeks. “. . . true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth…. God is spirit and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)
Genuine worship engages both the truth of Scripture and our spirit.
Our being connects with the Spirit of God as we study and adore Him.
Worship can happen in a church service, in our car, in a pristine wilderness, or over a sink of dirty dishes. The melodic lyrics are intended to remind us of our great salvation and Scriptural truths, prompting us to worship.
Truth fuels our worship.
As wood is to fire, so truth is to our worship.
As we encounter the truth of Scripture, the Holy Spirit rushes in, providing oxygen.
As oxygen is to fire, so is the Holy Spirit to our worship.
So, again, “Why the disparity between worshippers and their experience?”
Deep worship happens when we interact with truth on an experiential level.
This isn’t about knowing more, it’s about experiencing the reality of God and His character in our lives and through His Word.
When we sing, we find the threads of our stories in the lyrics.
His “Amazing grace. . . saved a wretch like me. . .”
Me. My sin. My hopelessness apart from Christ. My brokenness.
When we belt out “. . . my chains are gone. . .”,
we name our former chains while rejoicing over our release.
As we soulfully cry out to Him in our present “deep water” circumstance, pressing tear-stained faces into His chest, we clutch this Scripture truth,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned,
the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2)
Genuine worship sings truth, reads truth, and speaks truth.
In so-doing, we verbalize it for our own and others’ edification. The Spirit rises within us to confirm the truths our lips declare, igniting our hearts to draw close to His presence;
we are ablaze with worship.
In Natalie Grant’s song, “Isn’t He”, we celebrate two key truths leading us to ponder an earthshaking question.
“Captivator of the searching heart. . .” explores this first truth:
Jesus searches us out when we are not searching for Him.
In fact, He pursues us as we run in the opposite direction. When He catches us, to our amazement, there is no condemnation. Expecting shameful judgement, we find stunning kindness and lavish grace.
If such grace was not enough, this Captivator becomes our Healer, the second incredible truth of the song.
Christ finds us, slumped in the wreckage of failure, languishing in painful losses or enslaved in strongholds of our own making. This Jesus picks up our shattered pieces, frees us from our stonewalled strongholds, and bathes our gaping wounds with the healing balm of kindness.
Graciously giving more, He proclaims blessings over us, giving us hope and a future. He pieces together our shattered fragments, fashioning them into a magnificent masterpiece of grace.
Deeper still, this Healer takes the punishment our wrong-doing demands.
“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“. . . He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” (Psalm 103:10)
Our most shameful thoughts are no longer held against us once we lay down our hearts in surrender to Christ. The vile things we’ve seen, dark deeds we’ve committed, or those done against us, no longer define us.
The wrestling question begs an answer,
“Who would lavish such grace upon me?
Who is this Captivator?
Once again, Scripture reveals truth…
He is the same Whose Spirit hovered over the waters before creation (Genesis 1:1-2)
He is I AM Who revealed Himself to Moses on Sinai, and spoke through fire and cloud. (Exodus 33:7-23)
He is the One “. . . who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. . .” (Psalm 103:1-5)
He is the Suffering Servant Who “. . . was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
“He is the image of the invisible God; He is the firstborn over all Creation. . . He is before all things and in Him all things hold together…” (Colossian 1:15-23)
Let these truths soak into your soul and shape you.
Dare to believe this magnificent grace, this lavish kindness is truly for you, and sink into wonder. “This Jesus” has drawn you to Himself with the cords of lovingkindness and you are loved with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)
Linger in this holy moment.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!