I’ve tried to focus the first 3 days of this blog series on living lifestyles of worship that bring God into every aspect of our lives, which should cause us to respond to Him in worship and change the way we live.
I believe that this is important, because it sets us up with the firm foundation that won’t be compromised when troubles come along. The parable of the wise man building his house on the rock as opposed to the sand in Luke 6 vs 46-49 illustrates the importance of having a lifestyle that is firmly based on God and the truth of His Word.
The parable of the sower (found in Luke chapter 8) also illustrates this point, whereby some seeds that a farmer is sowing fall onto shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds begins to grow, but soon wither and die due to a lack of moisture. Jesus uses this parable to show how God’s message (i.e. the seed) is believed by some people initially, but “when the hot winds of testing blow”, they wilt and die as their roots don’t go very deep.
Challenge and crisis will always arrive on our doorstep at some point in our lives, and our ability to continue to persevere through these times hinges on how we have positioned ourselves in light of the fresh revelation of God and daily in-filling of His Holy Spirit that is readily available to all those who have put their trust in Him. I believe that, by God’s grace, those who have developed lifestyles of worship that are deeply rooted in Christ, and the richness of being transformed into His likeness, will be much better placed to get through the difficulties we all will, at some point, inevitably face.
These troubles are the arena within which we can truly see where our faith is at. Our response to these troubles shows us what we really believe about God and His promises. When everything is stripped away from us, and we are at our lowest point, do we turn from God or do we turn to Him?
Too many times in my life, in moments of crisis, my first instinct has been to try to escape and save myself from the crisis without acknowledging God and His plan for me in these moments. Although troubles do not necessarily come to us directly from God, I believe that sometimes He is wanting us to remain steadfast through them and turn to Him and trust in His ability to rescue us. There is always an opportunity for God to develop our characters through hardships, if we’re open to allowing Him to do this.
I love the way David interacts with God, and displays an honesty that is born out of a lifestyle of worship with Him. When David finds himself in turmoil (see, for example, Psalm 22), he is at a point in his life where a close relationship with God has been cultivated over time; he feels comfortable expressing his innermost feelings to God and seeking comfort and help from Him in spite of the challenges he is facing. We see through the course of the Psalms that where David turns to God in the midst of crisis and cries out to Him in desperation, God meets with him, and changes David’s perspective. With his eyes lifted towards God, David’s focus turns to God, leading him to worship, as his present difficulties pale into the background.
This is not to trivialise any of the hardships that people have faced / are facing / will face. Instead, I’d encourage us to turn our attention to the one who can bring us through the challenges we will face. Just as Jesus calmed the storm when he was traveling with His disciples on a boat in the Sea of Galilee (see Luke 8 vs 22-25), we can trust Jesus to bring us through the current storm and into calm waters.