October 10, 2012
“For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalms 73:27–28 ESV)
I was reminded of this Scripture passage last week, as a result of a friend sending me a link to a new song by Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown called God My Rock. It was one of those weeks where I was overwhelmed with my life, both at home and at work, finding myself on Saturday night, preparing to lead worship and feeling far from God. I had drifted during the week, busyness crowding out my usual practice of reading the scriptures and prayer. When I’m not hiding God’s Word in my heart and depending on my Lord in prayer, I am more apt to sin, and thus was the case with a sinful response to naughty behavior from my boys. I responded in the flesh and not according to the Spirit. This is pretty easy to distinguish as ‘fits of anger’ is listed in Galatians 5:19, and I was far from gentle, patient, kind, etc. (Galatians 5:22)
I apologized to my son, confessed and received forgiveness from the Lord, and later that night feeling pretty down opened my Bible to Psalm 73, reading these precious words and desperately needing to draw near to God. I came to the worship service weak and needy on Sunday morning – still desiring to draw near, convinced that nearness to God is my good. And I did draw near! Every worship song, Gary’s message to Walk Worthy of the Gospel, and the fellowship with my church family lifted me back to where I needed to be, resting and trusting in my faithful and loving Father. That didn’t happen without a level of honesty and confession.
I was reminded that our greatest need as believers is to walk each step with the Lord and how important the worship service is in enabling those who are far away to draw near. For some, like me, we have a tendency to slowly drift from that close relationship with our Lord and Savior. For others rebellion causes us to intentionally turn away from the Lord. Both are sinful and require repentance. And repentance results in grace, forgiveness and restoration – nearness to God. Certainly this should be our daily experience as we walk with the Lord, but if you’re like me, sometimes I need a little fine-tuning. Frequent and honest participation in corporate worship is like fine-tuning for our spiritual lives. Through confession and repentance, trusting in the saving and forgiving work of our Savior, we can personally experience nearness to God to a greater extent when we gather to worship the Lord together on Sunday morning. Let’s continue to make the Lord God our refuge! “Where sin runs deep, your grace is more. Where grace is found is where you are. Where you are, Lord, I am free! Holiness is Christ in me.” (from the song Lord, I Need You)
“Frequent and honest participation in corporate worship is like fine-tuning for our spiritual lives.”
So very true! I know that God uses the corporate worship service to draw me back to a closer communion with him and his body… it is often for me a taste of what heaven will be like!