If you’ve tuned into modern Christianity for the past few months or so you know what everyone has been saying about this easy play-on-word.
Cute, most think, at best.
I think it’s deeper, though.
All throughout the Bible we find word association, plays on words, and poetic, pictorial imagery that uses words, numbers, and pictures that prophesy their identity into the earth through the choice of God.
At first, I was excited for this word, no matter the cheese.
How excited would anyone be to be able to see more clearly and to gain fresh vision for their future?
And while I don’t disagree that these things could and will happen, I think we might be missing the larger point: not to see our lives or our future more clearly but to see JESUS MORE CLEARLY.
Amidst the war on truth, the abstraction of God-given identity, gender fluidity, partisan wars, hate, and the distortion of Christ, I feel the Spirit calling the Bride to peek at her Bridegroom and to see him clearly.
As we behold him clearly, everything changes.
To see him clearly means we must let go of our perceptions, our pasts, our desires, our very lives, and throw our passion at his feet, a fragrant, wasteful offering.
The Iscariots may mock, denounce the action.
We know there is no better waste.
And as we throw ourselves at his feet in worship, as we adore him, we are changed.
Regeneration comes through the power of reflection in gazing at the resurrected Christ.
How many are out there, I want to know, that feel the pull of God to enter into a deeper worship than we ever have?
How many want to let go of the narcissistic, navel-gazing, humanism that has pervaded the sanctuaries of the living God and labeled it as “ministry” or “worship”?
God is calling us up the mountain to worship.
We in the west love worshiping in the valley.
Don’t get me wrong.
We are to worship no matter the location, the situation, or the position our lives are in, good or bad.
But in an attempt to be “authentic” and to be loved by God, have we forgotten that the first commandment is to love him?
Maybe that’s why we’ve had so much trouble doing the second commandment well: because we have neglected the importance and authority the first has over the second.
Listen, I could call out songs that we sing that are more self-centered than Christ-centered, but that’s not the point of this post.
We all have probably recognized the shift in the atmosphere that happens when we switch from a song that is more focused on “me”, to a song that is simply obsessed with adoring and worshiping the beauty of Jesus.
Now, hear me, it’s not just about the song choice.
It’s the heart choice.
But if out of the mouth comes the power of life and death, then think what we produce when hundreds or thousands of people in one room are singing a complaint, humanistic song?
Heart or not, the words begin to shift the atmosphere, and we all leave feeling worse rather than better. Or conversely, but worse, we feel better about ourselves but leave without the blazing image of Jesus in our hearts and minds.
The worship movement, if it can be called that, has come leaps and bounds in terms of passion and emotional involvement, technology spreading it, and the leaders that have emerged in the past fifty years.
But we have a little while yet until we reach the prophetic vision of Jesus that we will worship him in “…spirit and in truth”.
Adoration is a word that I cannot get off of my heart.
It’s a word the Spirit has given me, but in a greater way, I believe, given the Church, to help us understand what worship is truly meant to be.
The meaning of the word “love” is so widely used for so many different things and in so many different ways and degrees it is hardly effective for us to properly understand the first commandment.
I think “adore” is a better one.
You can love something and yet still ignore it from time to time.
When you adore something, or someone, however, it is implied that you are obsessed, infatuated, transfixed by the beauty, the strength, every good quality that you see in them. You cannot stop telling them how you see them.
I think worship needs to be more like this.
I want to tell him he’s the most beautiful, the most worthy, the kindest, the infinite, magnificent, wonderful, powerful one whom my soul delights in.
I want to use adjectives, pictures, colors, and instruments to create an offering of praise that illuminates his glory, his beauty, and his nature.
This shifts atmospheres, cities, culture, and nations.
We were created to worship,
we were created to adore.
We were created to be slobbering, obsessive, fools for the sake of love for our God.
If this cannot be revealed in worship, why are we surprised when it is not revealed through our everyday lives?
There is a grace the Lord is ready to impart to those who will learn to check their navel-gazing at the door of the sanctuary and throw everything they have in adoration and worship to him and him along.
And in the heat of the fire that comes from that holy sacrifice, every thing we needed solved, that we wanted to sing about, will suddenly dissipate and disappear beneath the weight of the glory of the communion of God and man.
We won’t feel the weight of his presence and the beauty of his love because we conjured it up for 45 minutes in a worship set where we couldn’t stop thinking about how we weren’t emotional enough as those around us seemed to be, it will be because we have poured ourselves out completely as an offering of adoration and obsession and confession of what we love about him and who we see him to be and what we know him to be like.
2020 is a year where we will begin to see him rightly, love him rightly. It will be a year where adoration takes the place of half-hearted attempts to sing good theology or humanistic emotionalism to him.
It will be emotional, it will be mental, it will be spiritual.
But not because we are focused on those things, but because we are focused on him.
It will happen because we have learned to ADORE him.
1 John 3:2
One thought on “From Navel-Gazing To Glory-Gazing (To ADORE Him)”
Just YES. Pete, you say it SO. WELL. This concept (of focusing our praise and worship on GOD instead of on US has been a passion of my heart the last 6 years. I once worshipped God for myself…I preferred the songs that focused on me. And then God taught me what it meant to truly praise Him – to fling my spirit, soul, and body into abandoned adoration and declaration of who He is. I found life there. I found truth and comfort and contentment and joy and faith – more than I have ever found in navel-gazing worship. He lifted my eyes upward to behold HIM – not my problem. I am disturbed by how much our contemporary christian worship songs focus on ourselves and how often elementary the lyrics are. I long for depth…I want to keep growing in what it means to completely abandon myself in adoration of our God! Our generation needs to hear this message. ❤️
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