Day 2, Chapter 2: The Seeker
Elevators are convenient. . .and sometimes awkward. Who in their right mind likes being in an elevator with people they don’t know? The longer the ride, the louder the silence. A few months ago, I was trapped in the back of one of those torture chambers in the airport of one of the vacation capitals of the world - Orlando, Florida. There were only about a HUNDRED people on this elevator! Who hasn’t heard of Disney World, Epcot, and other hot spots there? And based on the lines at these tourist attractions, every person in the world has been there! Consequently, the airport is crowded and hectic. When the elevator stopped at my floor and the door opened, no one moved. After a couple of seconds, thinking no one else was getting off at this level, I spoke up rather urgently from the back, “Excuse me, I need to get off here.”
You’d have thought I asked for everyone’s phone number! Backs stiffened, eyes glared, and the man closest to the door turned and - in a most condescending tone - scolded me. “Be patient,” he snarled. “I’m just trying to be a gentleman and let the ladies off first.” After we all exited, one of the ladies with him turned to me and, rather snootily, decided to become my counselor: “You need a vacation, sir. We are in Orlando; why don’t you take a few days off and chill.”
I was tired, and perhaps this had caused me to unintentionally speak louder than I realized. Or maybe my urgency sounded like impatience. What did I do? Being the gentleman that I am, I took it on the chin and calmly moved on - with my blood pressure elevated and my inner thoughts explaining to them what idiots they were! And being the spiritual giant I am, within a few short weeks I had forgiven them and moved on! Doesn’t take me long!
Most of us dislike being misunderstood and misjudged - especially on an elevator! I don’t think God likes it either; and He is, without doubt, the most misunderstood person in existence. Perceived as distant, He is often ignored. Considered judgmental and legalistic, He is thought by some to be intimidating and one to steer clear of. And mistakenly thought of by His children as one who likes hearing how great He is, He is praised.
LOL - Okay...I had you; then I lost you.
Before you throw away this book, let me explain. Obviously, praising and worshiping God is good and appropriate. It’s our reason for doing so that needs some tweaking. Yahweh isn’t narcissistic, needing to be told how wonderful He is in order to satisfy an inflated ego. He isn’t insecure, needing to be reassured that He really is awesome. He doesn’t show off - praise doesn’t stimulate some macho corner of His heart, motivating Him to action in order to demonstrate His power. And He can’t be bought - our worship doesn’t cause Him to “reward” us with His presence simply because we made Him feel good. We, in the body of Christ have some wrong ideas about praise and worship. Frankly, God neither needs nor desires to be told how great, unique, powerful or loving He is.
He does, however, seek worshipers.
The difference is huge - immeasurably so. We ARE the worship. God longs for the singer, not the song. Our hearts are what transforms singing into worship, not the words and music. God would rather have a love-filled glance from our eyes than a song parroted from our lips. We can, in fact, worship without even opening our mouths.
I’m not downplaying the incredible power or importance of music and singing. I’m simply pointing out what makes them worship. When my kids were young and anxiously waited for daddy to come home from work, they didn’t meet me at the door with a song. They jumped into my arms and gave me a big hug.
When God created us, He made kids, not a choir; family members, not church members; He’s into love, not liturgy.
Too often we make worship simply a segment of a service, rather than a time to connect with God. I doubt if some church attendees understand, or have even heard, that He is a lover as well as the Lord. And it wasn’t His lording nature that prompted Him to create us - He could have made a few billion more angels had that been His desire. It was His loving nature. God is a father at heart.
Jesus, who came to earth to show us what God is truly like (John 1:18), gave a great glimpse of Abba’s loving and relational heart through an encounter with a rather loose-living woman. Looking for love in all the wrong places, this five-time divorced, currently shacked-up societal outcast was about to meet a man who wanted her heart, not her body.
Christ told her He knew her life-style, yet His actions proved He wasn’t condemning her. He had assured her He could satisfy her thirsty heart by placing a well of salvation in her. Then He went to the heart of the matter: relationship. He shifted the concept of worship from the place to the person, which was a radical paradigm shift in her day. I’m sure she had never thought about this, and certainly not that God was actually seeking worshipers. “He’d like you to be one” was the obvious invitation.
She was hooked. That God might actually be seeking her companionship was beyond this woman’s wildest dreams. How could He possibly want her? But He did. In one moment her shame was broken and joy filled her heart. It feels good to be wanted for the right reasons. This new worshiper was so excited, she ran and told her village about Jesus and ultimately, the entire community believed on Him.
Jesus was too excited to eat!
When the disciples returned, they were amazed that He was speaking to this immoral woman. Jesus was impervious to their shock, however, and completely unconcerned about His reputation. His excitement about transforming lives and reestablishing heart connections with His lost family was far greater than any concern over His reputation. On one occasion, Christ actually allowed a prostitute to enter a person’s home and, during the meal, bathe His feet with her tears. Awkward! But not to Him; He was on a search for hungry hearts with which to connect and their pasts weren’t an issue with Him.
Christ is still seeking heart connections today. If the God you’ve been introduced to is distant, uncaring, stoic, or enamored with Himself, you’ve been duped. The real God is passionate, caring, a lover of people, and a seeker of companionship - yours. While others seek His help, why don’t you seek His heart? Make His day...by giving Him the pleasure of some company.
Pray with me:
Father, thank You for sending Jesus, who shattered false ideologies regarding Your nature. We are grateful that You, the God of the universe - lovingly long for our companionship. You desire our hearts, not religious activities. What an amazing Father and Friend You are. We also desire a relationship with You. We want to see Your face and connect Your heart.
You love all people and nations. We ask that You and Your love would sweep across our land, drawing people to Yourself. We pray for a worldwide move of Your Spirit to be released. Supernaturally draw people to Yourself. Give them dreams, angelic visitations, divine appointments, healings for their bodies that can only come from You. Let this outpouring be profound!
We ask for these things in the name of Christ, our access to You. Amen.
The coming move of God will be marked by passion - God’s passion for us and ours for Him. The mask of religion will be pulled off, unveiling Him to human-kind.
Today’s post was taken from my book The Pleasure of His Company. Dutch Sheets, The Pleasure of His Company (Grand Rapids, MI: Bethany House Publishers, 2014), pp 17-24.