I really don’t want this to come off as a rant so if it does, will you keep two things in mind? 1) It’s not my intention to criticize or judge. And 2) Sometimes digging for truth can get muddy. Oh yeah, and maybe this as well: 3) This is primarily about me!
So I’m reading along in the first book of Samuel and this phrase keeps coming up:
As much as I’m tempted to go into the background story–how David is on the run from betrayal– it’s just this one phrase I’ll focus on.
While I stir the words around in my mind–and David inquired of the LORD, on the back burner there are some thoughts simmering as well and I’m wondering if the two ideas are merging?
I’ve been keenly aware lately of how many add-ons, blogs and books are in my life. Each time I click on a blog, and I’m pretty selective and minimal, the author invariably mentions a book or an event or an app or devotional or a list or a clever, artistic printable phrase to frame or an appeal to add just one more thing/practice/habit to my life and routine.
So I order their books that promise to lead me into a greater understanding of my story or why friendship is so vital and how I can go about being a better one or why rest is essential to my spiritual health or how I could enhance my prayer life with a terrific app that will remind me to pray or a website that will allow me to type my way to memorizing more scripture or how it’s never to late to dream big and why I should this or that or the other….and all this just keeps me focused on me.
And, by the way, why do they seem more spiritual, more together, more used by God?
So I inquire about how it’s possible to have greater intimacy in my marriage or how to identify my spiritual temperament or my personality type or how to transform my introversion into extroversion or how to declutter my life and/or learn to live with imperfection, letting dust and crumbs take a back seat to the ministry of availability and how to promote my ministry and _____________ [fill in the blank(s)].
And my spiritual pursuit is akin to hoarding. I have way, way more than I need or can utilize. I feel bogged down and encumbered. I am hindered. And I’m overwhelmed.
But the truth is:
I don’t need all these add-ons to hear from God. In fact, they really detract from my ability to hear His voice.
I also don’t need hip skinny-jeaned worship leaders, fashion-icon-esque ministry teams, fog machines and elaborate stage sets to worship and serve God.
I looked up the definition of pretense today:
• an act or appearance that looks real but is false
• a claim of having a particular quality, ability, condition, etc.
• an inadequate or insincere attempt to attain a certain condition or quality
• professed rather than real intention or purpose
I recently put away all my fabulous devotionals, books, apps, journals, and gadgets. I pulled out my bible, the one with real pages, and I’m intentionally inquiring of the LORD. I’m purging my worship life.
And speaking of worship, here’s a bit of humble-pie-admission for you.
I was hosting at church Sunday, standing near one of the doors in the back of the sanctuary–er, auditorium–and standing next to me was a member of one of the worship teams. I found myself pretentious in my worship. Rather than being focused on pouring out my soul to the King of Kings I was intent on harmonizing and hitting each note perfectly–and with more volume than usual. To measure up? Really???
That was five days ago and I still feel sick about it.
Is it just me or is the body of Christ crowding out God with all our introspection, cool stuff and cultural hip-ness?
So what about sincere and pure (simple) devotion to Christ?
I know there are some really good things God uses others to say that encourage, tools to aid our understanding and accessories to enhance our lives. They’re like seasonings, but they make a poor meal and can’t make up the bulk of our spiritual diets.