Worship - Gateway to Intimacy
Did you ever ask God about your reputation in heaven through your worship on earth? Tommy Tenney, in his book Finding Favor with the King - Preparing for Your Moment in His Presence, suggests that we do so. He asks, "What would happen if the church established a reputation for extravagant excellence with her King and Bridegroom?" "Is God eager to suspend the schedules of His Kingdom to attend our worship services, or does He rarely show up in His manifest glory?" Tenney continues: "Nothing attracts God's presence and His intervening power like focused and single-minded worship...When you focus your attention on the wrong thing, you are actually worshiping it...Worship is never more important than when the enemy launches a plot to destroy your destiny! Learn to worship with the enemy at your table...If you have the heart of the King, then your enemies become His enemies and your problems become footstools for Divine Solutions."
The enemy's plan is to distract us from worshiping the King. He knows that worship is the gateway to intimacy with our Lord. We are told in John 15:7, "If you abide in me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." (NKJV) In an article by Patricia King in April 2006, she writes about this subject. "Intimacy—this is the battlefield. This is what the enemy desires to steal more than anything! If he can steal our intimacy with the Lord, he gets everything..." She discovered in her desperation that she carried unbelief. "I was hoping to be intimate, but was not believing I could be." Pat recalled Hebrews 11:6. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must first believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." "I began to worship from a different perspective. Instead of hoping to be intimate, I believed I was. This was not based on what I felt—it was based on what was true."
In Psalm 23:5 King David wrote, "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Tenney tells us that our worship must focus on the King alone. "If you learn to worship while the enemy sits across from you at the same table; if you learn to pay such close attention to the King that you forget about the enemy staring you in the face...Then you win." No matter how we feel, and no matter what we are facing, we must give the Lord our highest worship. Mary demonstrated this when she poured out the entire content of her alabaster jar to anoint Jesus. The crowd that had gathered witnessed Mary's selfless act of love, but they were offended by her lavish devotion. Jesus told them, "I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." (Matthew 26:13)
Some characteristics of highest worship include the following: It is all-consuming, it is humble, it is done in brokenness, it is sacrificial, and it costs us everything. We see this in the relationship that Jesus had with His Father. While on earth, we have opportunities to give the Lord the highest worship. This happens when we give him the sacrifice of praise in the dark night of our souls, amid loss, sorrow and pain. Jesus said that Father God seeks worshipers who will worship Him in spirit and truth. (John 4:23) Our sacrificial worship has a fragrance that is different from any other. It rises above the worship of heaven.
Remember that God is the one who placed a yearning for His Presence within us. He wants us to be overwhelmed with the desire to run after Him with all that is within us. We must say like the Shulamite in Song of Solomon, "Draw me away!" "Set me as a seal upon your heart." And saying these things, we must be prepared to give it all. Jesus gave it all for love and His intercessions are prompted by love. We have a promise from God that we must embrace: "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:12-13)
Joan E. Mathias