March 16, 2011
“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” (Hebrews 2:1 NIV)
As I was preparing to lead worship last week around this theme of “not drifting away,” I was hit with how profoundly important the worship service is in this regard. I realized anew the significance of my role in planning elements that help us to “pay more careful attention,” remembering the reality of the truth and allowing our hearts to connect or perhaps reconnect with the Lord of Truth. Now let me shift the focus to my role as the worshiper, for I come to the worship service as both one seeking the Lord and leading others toward him. Like everyone else, I need to come as a worshipper each week due to my tendency to drift. I easily get distracted, deceived and discouraged. I need to open my life up to what God has to say to me through his Word, through prayer and the presence of the Holy Spirit. His words may be words of conviction, affirmation, healing, rebuke or encouragement, training me up in the way I should go. Now, with the Holy Spirit dwelling in me and the gift of his written Word, this can and should happen throughout the week, but there is nothing that matches the unity of the faith when I gather with the people of God, the church.
The main problem we all have is the tendency to fix our eyes on ourselves. Unfortunately, we don’t leave that behind when we come to the worship service. It is often about our experience, our desires, our style of teaching or worship, when what we need is simply to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV) We come on our own agenda, when we should come seeking God’s agenda. We may need fellowship, forgiveness, a charismatic experience or encouragement in the form of hope, or even healing. Doesn’t God know these things and long to do them in our lives? While we should come honestly telling God what we want or think we need, it should quickly be followed by, “Your will be done in my life in this time.” Then we trust that God in is faithfulness and compassion hears us and “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20–21 NIV)
What’s the opposite of drifting? Standing firm; anchored. The Scriptures say of Christ, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19 NIV) Some of us have drifted so far off course that our main need is to be anchored. Then what? We need to put up our sails, catch the wind of the Spirit and begin to make headway, getting back into the race.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
(Hebrews 12:1–3 NIV)
To the glory of God, with our eyes fixed on Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit, may our worship services at Trinity be a place where we can be anchored in hope, running with perseverance the race marked out for us.