Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Lifestyle of Worship

    If we are seeking to find patterns that connect us with God, if we are building spiritual disciplines into our lives, then learning the habit of checking in with God all the time is the compass that guides the other disciplines. It is the foundation of a lifestyle of worship.

    A year ago, some of us read Brother Lawrence’s book Practicing the Presence of God. How interesting that words written over 300 years ago in French could impact a bunch of people in Connecticut! Brother Lawrence suggests that “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen…I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees.” How did work not differ from worship for Brother Lawrence? By continually entering into a conversation with God.

    I believe this is the path to living out Paul’s command in Romans 12:1-2.

    Therefore, I urge you, brothers [and sisters], in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
    What is this spiritual act of worship, or living sacrifice? Offering our bodies and being transformed by the renewing of our minds. How did Brother Lawrence suggest we renew our minds? By first applying some diligence, but that after a little care we should find God’s love inwardly exciting us to it without any difficulty. Is this your experience--building a pattern of checking in with God leads to a relationship with God where it is natural to talk continuously with your Friend?

    I found great freedom from Brother Lawrence’s confession that when he failed in this he only confessed his fault, saying to God, I shall never do otherwise if You leave me to myself; it is You who must hinder my falling and mend what is amiss. Then Brother Lawrence gave himself no further uneasiness about it. What a great model for us! When through the course of a day we realize we have not checked in with God for a while, we don’t beat ourselves up for it, but confess and then ask for God’s help to keep the conversation going.

    If I want to be a living sacrifice--to have a spiritual act of worship--then spiritual disciplines guide my choices. Practicing the presence of God, the habit of choosing over and over again to re-engage in talking with God, guides a lifestyle of worship. Why don’t you try checking in with God many times today?

    Please comment here, at the blog, with what you experience.


      Rose said...

      I like to word"checking in" that was used.I don't know that God wants us to just check in with Him. He wants us to look forward to our special alone time with Him. Say, after we have had a hard day of work~we know we have something special to look forward to~and that is at night to be alone with the Lord. It's what can get us through the day with the joy of the Lord in our hearts. God never promised happiness~but joy in Him. Blessings, Rose

      clif davis said...

      Thanks Rose for writing.

      By "checking in" I was not limiting the extending time with GOd at all. We all need to spend time reading God's word and reflecting, praying, and all the personal patterns we have been discussing.

      I was suggesting that--in addition to time we carve out that has no interruptions--we can check in with God while we are driving to the grocery store, we can check in before we answer someone's questions, we can check in while we are brushing our teeth...

      What do you think? Can we pray without ceasing?