Late in his career, when the Yankees were comfortably ahead in the pennant race, Joe DiMaggio was asked why he continued to play so hard. He said, “Because there might be somebody out there who’s never seen me play.”
The Christian should live every day as if someone will see him who has never seen a Christian before.
When things become familiar, when life becomes a routine, many times we can become lazy, we do things that are monotonous, for the sake of doing it. This can very easily creep in to our spiritual life as well. When the things we do become nothing more than just a religious activity, there is no reason as to why we do it. We sometimes just want to keep ourselves busy with busyness. There is no real passion and eagerness. We need to understand today, that many times it might be boring and out of monotony to us, but that should not stop us from giving off our best at all times, irrespective of how we feel.
Paul tells us, my spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. You see, many times our flesh just can’t take it, we become lethargical, complacent, full of complaints and we become religious, the flesh becomes weak, yet our spirit man should become stronger day after day, we should put aside the things of the flesh and not allow the flesh to control the spirit, and the only way we can do that is by remaining in the presence of God.
John 6:66-69 (NKJV)
66 From that time many of His disciples went [p]back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the [q]Christ, the Son of the living God.”
In our text many of the disciples went back, they walked away from Jesus, because it became difficult, what was asked of them was more than they could handle. They were not willing to sacrifice the flesh for the spirit, the temporary for the permanent, the now for the eternal.
You see its all about sacrifice, it’s all about making a determined effort to live the life of a worshipper, someone who is committed to surrendering all to Jesus, someone who is committed in allowing the Holy Ghost to take control, and too become true spirit filled worshippers.
Peter answered the question that Jesus asked, a question that many today, do not want to answer, many today want to take the easy way out, many today want to find an alternative that appeals to the flesh. His answer: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the [q]Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Unless we have a revelation of who Jesus is, unless we have that encounter with Jesus, all our worship would be, is a diluted, make believe, play acting, performance for man. We can never become true spirit filled worshippers and live the life of a worshipper as expected of us by God, unless we have this revelation and encounter that Peter and the other eleven disciples had.
1.No room for spectators in worship
If you have ever been to a sporting match, maybe its your favourite rugby or soccer team playing, and you are sitting in the stands, excited about what you are about to see, the thrill and excitement of the moment takes over. When we go as spectators we go prepared with all our favourite snacks, umbrellas, sun tan lotion, picnic baskets, drinks. You see its all about being prepared for the excitement of what you are about to witness.
Many times, in our worship unto God, we are nothing more than spectators, we come with excitement of what we are about to be a witness off, we are excited about seeing God perform miracles, we are excited about the songs that will be sung, or maybe its about how good a musician is and the way the worship makes you feel. You see friends, we can so easily fall into the trap of making worship a spectator “sport”. We don’t have the urge to be a part of it, we don’t have the urge to enter the playing field and to take that penalty shot or score that try, or even come to Jesus in surrender. We would rather be a spectator and enjoy the “performance”.
We need to get down on the playing field, we need to get down and get dirty, we need to be in the middle of where Jesus is working. I love what my pastor, always says, “We need to stop having a superstar mentality.” Sometimes its about making ourselves feel good. We need to become participants in worship and not spectators.
1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
There is a huge difference between being a spectator and being a participant. You see as a spectator we become critical, we are present in the body but absent in mind. Our worship to God, does not engage our hearts, it has no control by the spirit, it is all about feelings and emotions.
John 4:24 (GNT)
God is Spirit, and only by the power of his Spirit can people worship him as he really is.”
There are two characteristics of a spectator, that we need to consider today:
- Spectators lose focus, their worship to God is about how good it makes them feel. And this is not what scripture tells us worship should be. Spectators never come to serve and to honour God, and sometimes you might as well not show up at all, if we are going to move away from what true spiritual worship is.
- Spectators are always driven by entertainment. Its all camera, lights and action. It’s about the output of the speakers, the quality of the equipment, the singers, how in tune they are. Oh, and that drummer when he hits his moves. Spectators long for more and more of what makes them feel good, rather than what brings glory and honour to God. It’s about coming to see who plays with more finesse than the other. And God is eliminated from the picture completely.
2. To whom shall we go?
The disciples that left Jesus, that turned and went away, all they wanted was to be spectators, all they wanted was to come along for the ride. There was no commitment, no passion, no longing to walk with Jesus, to serve God.
You see when Peter answered Jesus and said: “Lord to whom shall we go?”, what he was saying in essence to Jesus, was that there was no one that could satisfy their needs, there was no one that could compare to him. He is the only one that can give them eternal life.
Many times, we chase after the temporary, the things that are going to pass away, and we run away from what is eternal. Have we come to the point in our lives when we can make that statement that Peter made? A statement that confirms that without God we are lost, we are nothing.
Matthew 16:24-25 (NIV)
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
Peter was telling Jesus, Lord we will follow you, we will serve you, we are willing to give up everything to do your will. We don’t want to be like the others having seen who you are, and coming to know who you are, but still wanting to remain in safety, still wanting to be a part of the world coming as spectators.
He goes on to say we have come to know and believe that you are the Christ the Son of the living God. That revelation today, is what will set you free, that revelation is what will take your relationship with God to new level. It’s a revelation that can only come through the Holy Ghost, a revelation that sets you on a new level of intimacy with God, that take you into the realm where he is no longer just a teacher, or a man sent from God (as Nicodemus perceived) but rather your saviour, your Lord, the one whom you worship in Spirit and in Truth.
You see friends, unless we transcend from having a spectator mentality to having a participant mentality, we will always remain in the stands, watching from afar, not tasting of the bread of life, not touching the hem of his garment, not letting our tears fall on his feet, and pouring oil on his head. It will all be about how good it makes us feel, and no glory unto God.
Let us enter the playing field today. As we surrender ourselves in worship to God, let us worship him with all that we have, holding nothing back. William McDowell’s song: I give myself away, a song that we sing, but do we understand what we are telling God today.
I give myself away,
So You can use me,
I give myself away,
So You can use me
My life is not my own
To you I belong
I give myself,
I give myself to you
What we are saying here, is Lord my life is yours, do as you please. I will not question you, I will not walk away, I will not stand in the way of what will bring you glory and honour.
In the movie, The Princess Bride, Whenever Buttercup spoke to Westley, all he would say is “AS YOU WISH”
How good would that be if we as worshippers could adopt that mindset. When God tells you:
Worship me in sprit & in truth – As you wish Lord
Surrender all to me – As you wish Lord
Talk to me, I am waiting for you – As you wish Lord
I have blessed you with an increase/promotion/new job, worship me in your giving – As you wish Lord
Take up your cross and follow me – As you wish Lord
You see when we sing this song I give myself away, we tell God – LORD AS YOU WISH, whatever you want me to do, I will do it. That is what the life of a worshipper should be, a life that is surrendered to God, doing what he wishes us to do and not what pleases us.
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