|"Whole-hearted praise and worship in spirit and in truth will always require forceful men and women to contend together! In so doing we lay hold of that aspect of the Kingdom!"|
I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. (Jude 3)
Jude appealed to the believers to ‘contend’ for the faith. In this context the amplified Bible says the ‘faith’ is ‘the sum of Christian belief’. Whatever stimulated Jude to write this caused him to passionately appeal to believers to develop a forceful attitude, to contend for all things they believed.
To contend in this context means to assert, to struggle or to fight the opposition. Opposition is anything that stands between us and wholehearted worship …whether it is spiritual opposition or internal resistance in our own soul. There are many aspects of Christianity I could address where we should contend. However, the Holy Spirit has me focusing on contending for and in our worship. We must fight against anything that inhibits or opposes fully honoring Him in worship.
The church in general has become complacent in praise and worship of our God. We have fallen into personal routines. Human nature strives for comfort; comfort in every aspect of life; our home, our car, our furniture, our food, our music, etc. Striving for comfort overflows into how we offer praise and worship to our God. We bring our personal comfort levels to corporate worship. Over time it becomes half-hearted rather than whole-hearted.
Comfort is, well, comforting…like a soft reclining chair…a quiet setting away from noise…a familiar way of doing something. Comfort implies a freedom from resistance in the soul and body. However, comfort over time breeds complacency. Complacency becomes the default setting in our soul and body. It’s the place we settle where there is no resistance. Complacency is like a stagnant pond. Over time we grow to like that pond. It's familiar and warm. However, stagnant ponds have no fresh water flowing in, no cool rains coming down, and no outflow to release the old and bring in the new.
Complacent mindsets can develop in every church, every culture and every person unless the church, the culture, the person CONTENDS for fresh water, cooling rain and releasing outflow from their soul and body.
In praise and worship we develop comfort levels; the place we sit or stand in a gathering; the way we physically praise and worship; the level at which we participate. If we don’t lift our hands in worship, that’s our comfortable place. If we don’t sing, that’s our comfortable place. If we meditate, that’s our comfortable place. Over time doing the same thing becomes a stagnant pool because we are worshiping on a default setting. We are going through the motions but forgetting the mission! The mission is to honor, exalt, praise and worship God wholeheartedly in line with His Word.
It is at this place of stagnancy that we must CONTEND in and for the fullness of praise and worship. This stagnant place offers opportunity to draw upon the Spirit of God’s fresh water and rain. We draw by choosing to do something we have not done before! From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it. (Matt. 11:12) We draw by forcefully engaging in our whole heart, taking captive every thought of internal resistance and submitting it to Christ. We draw by forcefully moving out of what we have been doing into what we will do. We respond to the Word of God, what He says about praise and worship. We forcefully come into alignment with a fuller expression of praising and worshiping the Father. Whole-hearted praise and worship in spirit and in truth will always require forceful men and women to contend together! In so doing we lay hold of that aspect of the Kingdom!
I encourage you to contend, to fight the good fight, to get beyond the default setting in your soul and move into the greater, fuller, whole-hearted dimension of our Father in praise and worship. Praise be to His Name!