So, while I was in Papua New Guinea with my daughter, we had many occasions to worship with the blood bought saints there. We sang and worshipped in our church services… we sang and worshipped in the car as we drove from one place to another… we sang and worshipped in the houses we stayed in… we even sang and worshipped in the open air, under the canopy of heaven. Each time we sang and worshipped the songs would build and mount to a heavenly crescendo of praise to God. It was lively, breath-taking, and utterly moving.
It was during one of those times it dawned on me that many people really miss out on such a monumental experience. As a matter of truth, the Holy Spirit started explaining some things to me, in a way that I could comprehend. Here’s what He explained to me, and maybe it will help you…
Many people today want to experiment with God. They may or may not be willing to give God a try to some extent. This happens primarily when life is horrible and they’re grasping for the last straw. They’ve run the gamut – they’ve tried everything. And since they’ve expended everything they’ve got, they might as well give God a try. It happens when there’s financial difficulty, marital problems, health issues.
Worship, for many people, is an experimental exercise. To a certain extent we’ve become 58 minute Christians. We come to our church services, put in our time, go through the motions, all the while experimenting with God. We really don’t expect God to do anything in that 58 minutes – like change our lives or meet our needs. But we wouldn’t say “no” if He did decide to step in and alleviate at least some of our discomfort. Whether that happens or not is subject to the depth of our pain and the openness of our heart in seeking Him.
However, the Holy Spirit started revealing to me we weren’t to experiment with God when we come to worship, but experience God in our worship. That’s a huge difference. To not just know that He’s in the House, but He’s weaving in and around us – present with us. He’s filling every thought, every word, every movement. He wants to be experienced in His holiness… His purity… His faithfulness… His grace… His love… His mercy. He wants to touch every aspect of your life – physically… intellectually… spiritually… emotionally.
I was reminded of that as I read of King Solomon dedicating the temple. Here’s what the Bible says…
“Suddenly a cloud filled the temple as the priests were leaving the most holy place. The LORD’s glory was in the cloud, and the light from it was so bright that the priests could not stay inside to do their work.” 1 Kings 8:10-11 CEV
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: If you’ve been experimenting with God, today might be a good day to stop that and start experiencing God. He’s readily available!
Let me experience Your presence in my life today. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen
Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.