I used to enjoy painting: nice and relaxing; low cost; you can see the results quickly. But that was then. These days I find it trifling and boring – I guess I’ve done too much of it. Nevertheless somebody has to pitch in with Cheryl on house projects and I join in because … you know … we’re a team and stuff.
As Cheryl and I proceeded with our self-imposed painting of the bannister and handrails to the basement, it seemed a bit too quiet in the house so Alexa was asked to play some of our favourite worship music. The songs were calming, healing, reflective and an appropriate background for our busy, preoccupied minds as the tedious task progressed.
However as I painted the spindles white and dabbed rebellious rivulets, my mind tracked in a new direction as I listened to the music: Why is it that God wants us to worship him?
God is described in scripture as a jealous God, the one we are to praise, as inhabiting the praises of his people, etc. and it must seem to non-churched people that God is either emotionally needy or an egomaniac to demand such glorification.
So the question is a natural one: Hey God, what’s with the ego?
The Christian practice of praise is held in tension with another belief in God’s aseity, which means that he is purely autonomous – self-derived, self-existent, self-sufficient.
Hmm… So he asks for worship but doesn’t actually need it…
The mystery of that tension is also apparent in God’s ‘construction’ – Father, Son, Spirit exist equally yet with different roles – yet as one inseparable unit. The parts of the ‘Trinity’ fully and equally serve one another out of perfect love. So if you think about it, the idea of living in cooperative harmony is a natural intention God would have.
But we are selfish creatures; even the best of us are looking out for number one most of the time so we need to find a path to seeing and acting in a healthy, objective way outside of ourselves. Where better to find the perfect balance in life than engaging with our Creator who knows us and our needs perfectly?
One of the important life-lessons I learned many years ago was from Tony Campolo who posited that ‘Love is a choice’. Oh sure, there are invisible, emotional connections that join people romantically or in families in ways we can’t explain. But beyond that it is possible to choose to see the good, the best, even the lovableness in almost anyone. I know because I have tested those words numerous times.
That’s true of any relationship but especially marriage. I don’t know if you have noticed this or not but there are times when the words, ‘I love you.’ come easily but there are other times when we might not feel like saying it. If you are wise you learn to say it even when it’s not easy. There is something about saying the words that begins to carve out a place for our mind and heart to rest.
When we look with eyes that choose to love, we begin to feel love.
Worship isn’t about God needing to be propped up, worship is about finding a way to tune in to who God is. We can’t see his beauty and fulness without choosing to open the door. We need to choose to be awakened, to have our spiritual senses activated, so we enter through the portal of worship: looking at God, opening ourselves to God; flushing out our doubts and activating our faith.
God doesn’t need you to worship him, you need you to worship, so you can lower the walls.
Go ahead, tell God you love him. Talk to Jesus about your day. Say the words, open your heart. Think, feel. Invite God’s Spirit to move inside you and change you.
When you are close to God, the universe benefits. I know that sounds very cosmic and new-agey but I believe that universal harmony and peace and wellness are all in God’s end game. He is best for you and your praise forms a God-sized home inside you where he can grow and become more true.
It’s all about relationship, no ego needed.