What if I told you that worship was for our benefit, not God's? I mean, think about it; does God really need us to give Him compliments all the time? Is He a needy God that isn't happy unless we worship Him? It sounds pretty ridiculous doesn't it. What if I told you that Jesus was all about your happiness? What if God is actually a happy God who likes to have fun? That would be crazy right? Haha I believe He is. As it says in Psalm 2:4 "He sits enthroned and laughs…"
So why isn't His body full of joy and glory like He is?
I believe there are many reasons, but one for sure is the religious spirit.
I want to expose this thing for what it is, a demonic spirit assigned to control, oppress, and thwart the happiness of God. But as we see in the Psalm, God just laughs at this. :)
Here is some stinkin’ thinkin’ that comes from the religious spirit... the notion that we cannot and should not come to God for our own joy. At best, the religious spirit suggests that this is not spiritual maturity. Somehow we believe that if we benefit from our relationship with God we are being selfish. I mean, "love seeks not its own" right? I would say that the act of not seeking your own is still motivated by pleasure. Will you not gain much joy from being humble? Will you not feel great inside when you prefer someone above yourself? I would suggest to you that God is all about our happiness, just not in the way we think it’s supposed to be attained.
See, the religious belief system says we should not be motivated by our own desire for pleasure, fulfillment, or happiness. It says that we should come to God in worship out of a sense moral duty instead of delight. It comes to God with empty, repetitive praises as if it is something on a checklist to get done. I don't know about you but that sounds to me like every other religion out there. "Pray 5 times a day and God will be pleased with you."
We, in our religious do do, have the nerve to call our disinterested worship sacrifice. "Oh brother, I am gonna give Him a sacrifice alright. I am going to suffer like Jesus suffered. I will deny myself all pleasure and then I will reach acceptance by God. I will yell, scream, and shout praises, not because I am happy, but because it’s my duty." I am over exaggerating to make a point here, but we often come to Him with such a twisted view.
This kind of sacrifice may sound impressive. It may sound super-spiritual and holy to do something you have no desire to do, but this lifestyle is usually riddled with a joyless existence that is far from The Gospel. The Gospel is good news that makes you happy!
The problem is our lenses are skewed with religion. We must receive a Holy Ghost detox so we can see clearly!
I am certainly not negating sacrifice. I believe there are many times we worship Him even when we don't feel like it. The difference is I believe the reward of seeing His face is worth the initial struggle of doing something counteractive to my feelings.
Let me use an illustration to make my point...
It’s Valentines Day. You buy your lovely lady a bouquet of flowers. She gets all excited and says, "you shouldn't have." You respond, "Oh honey, its my duty to give you flowers on Valentines Day."
That really doesn't honor the one you love much, does it? So why do we think our striving, dutiful, disinterested worship honors God? How do we think this makes our Lord feel? To me its this verse here: "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
When we come to Him out of obligation our hearts are far from Him.
The Truth is that the highest form of praise and worship comes from an overflow of enjoyment. Worship is a heart response to seeing a really good God. It comes when our hearts are ravished by His love. "We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
For example, when you eat at a really good restaurant the natural thing to do is to talk about how amazing the food is. You are probably so enthralled by the flavors bursting in your mouth that you cannot help but talk about it. You don't have to work up a response in your heart at that moment do you? Your praise came out of an overflow of enjoyment in the food.
This so relates to true worship. When we really see God in His splendor and majesty, we are undone by the sheer pleasure of simply beholding Him.
And this, my friends, is what will answer your question, how to be happy in this life.
It’s right here in Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."
See, it is time that we understand that it is our duty to delight in Him. If you are someone who strives to live from duty then you should know that you are commanded to delight in Him. And do you know what the word delight means? It means to take a high degree of pleasure in something. This is kind of a good deal eh? We are instructed to be filled with pleasure, and this pleasure can only be found in one place, God Himself.
C.S. Lewis puts it best in this quote:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
At the core of our being, we desire this pleasure. It is engrained into our DNA, it is the way God made us. He created us to be captivated by beauty.
It is religion that perpetuates guilt and shame upon us for desiring to be filled with this love wine. And when this desire is blocked, its like a river dammed up, it ends up flooding the banks and destroying a village. So instead of stifling your pursuit of pleasure, redirect it to The Lord!
So my challenge to you is to enjoy. Repent from uptight religion. Don't let that guilt starve your heart from enjoying the endless ocean of bliss in our Lord. Open your heart to receive His rivers of Joy! Open your heart to delight in His presence. Ask Holy Spirit to wreck you with His intoxicating love. He loves to do that! Realize that true worship is an overflow of your enjoyment in Him. Don't let religion rob you of joy.
Because your very pursuit of joy is God's very own pursuit of Glory. God demands glory. How does He get it? When you delight in Him. When you take pleasure in His presence. As you do, you will give Him the most pure form of worship you can ever give. It won't be drummed up; it won't be fake. It will be out of the overflow of your love struck heart.
May your eyes be opened to see Him in His beauty my friend!
Till next time,