Posted by: JennyRain | August 11, 2009

Worshipping God for who He is, not just what He does

This weekend I was hungry for Christian fellowship, so I ended up spending the majority of the weekend in church. Little did I know that God was using that hunger to propel me into a deeper communion with Him by shaking up my regular devotional practices.

Idolizing Blessings

I have been worshipping God for the last six months for His blessings. Many of you who have followed my life have watched as God has literally blown through my checklist of requests. I have seen ten-year prayers answered in an instant, watched God move heaven and earth to open doors, and redeemed areas of my life and heart that had been put on the shelf to collect dust.

To not praise God for all that He has done in this season would be ludicrous – how could I not!?!

Yet, after six months of praising God for all of these blessings, I began to experience an inner emptiness. It was as if somehow, these blessings had become more important than God Himself in my hierarchy of priorities.

Enter the Prophets

I chose to honor the gnawing hunger that clawed at my spirit and decided to progress beyond my screaming fear of crowds and brave Saturday night service at MBC. Todd Phillips is in the middle of series called “Really Knowing God.”

Todd’s message really hit home. I was convicted and humbled by Todd’s challenge to “Praise God for who He is, not just what He does.” Todd challenged us to listen for God in the silence and proceeded to share with us how God speaks so we would know how to hear Him better (God’s Word; Prayer; the People of God; Circumstances)

God has been getting my prayer props for all the “stuff” He is doing, but when was the last time I praised Him for who He is? When was the last time I listened for Him? When was the last time I allowed myself to rest in the hunger and the silence long enough to give Him a chance to speak?

Sunday I awoke with the familiar hunger. “Again Lord?” I pondered and within an hour was fellowshipping with my friends at Grace Covenant. As Providence so often does, Pastor Jim Critcher’s message was consistent with what Todd had preached the night before…

  1. God wants to reveal Himself to us, but are we listening?
  2. We want the miracles, but how often do we want the miracle circumstances that reveal who God is?
  3. We have lost the ability to discern God’s voice amidst the cacophonous clutter of noise in our environments.
  4. When God speaks, it is through these avenues: God’s Word; Prayer; the People of God; Circumstances/Consequences

Sunday afternoon, John and I attended his church, St. Timothy’s. Again, the message was consistent with what I had been hearing, but with an added twist. Reverend Chadwick talked about how Jesus will draw our attention to the deep hunger inside of ourselves; “Honor that hunger. It will teach you how to listen for God’s face, not just His hand. Rest in it. Sit down with God, in your hunger and offer it up to Him. Together, figure out what to do with it.”

Rev. Chadwick explained that if we did not allow ourselves to hunger, we would never learn to appreciate God for who He is. So the consistent message I received was:

Rest in the hunger, it will teach you to listen for God in the silence. More importantly it will teach you to praise the Blesser for who He is, not just His blessings.

Great, so what do I do with all of this new-found knowledge?

Knowing God for who He is

I know of God’s blessings. I know of His theology. I know about Him, but have I really spent the time to know Him? So I have been asking God to reveal Himself to me, thinking I would be meditating around things like Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Wisdom.

That’s not what I got, however. Instead God impressed me with this: BEAUTY

Huh? How can you wrap your mind around such a nebulous concept of God? God as beauty. God IS beauty. Beauty= God. Ok thanks Lord, could you have started with a more difficult attribute!?!

I have never known God as beautiful.

What does God’s beauty look like? How can beauty be a characteristic of God? I know God creates beauty – but to be beautiful Himself – how does this work?

I tried to Google God’s beauty, the beauty of God, God is beauty and came up with a big goose-egg. I meditated on this concept while listening to the song “Captivated” by Vicky Beeching that expresses how the song-writer is “captivated by the beauty of God’s face.”

I realized I have been captivated by all of the beauty in the blessings I’m receiving, my marriage/husband, fixing our house, my job, living in northern VA again, being able to go to Target whenever I want and having Kohl’s within walking distance, but when have I ever been captivated by God’s beauty?

The next song that came on is “By His Wounds.” The words are very similar to the story told in Isaiah 53.

He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed

We are healed by Your sacrifice
And the life that You gave
We are healed for You paid the price
By Your grace we are saved
We are saved

As I listened, I realized, this sacrifice is God’s beauty too. It is not just His lovely face, or the beauty of His creation, Jesus Christ’s work on the Cross is the essence of God’s beauty because it is part of the essence of who God is. This horrific, ugly attestation of God is somehow transformed into beauty because it was God on the cross, instead of us.

 

Body of Christ

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