GodReflection: Is Worship for God or for Me?
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope (Romans 15:4).
I don’t think it’s just me; I find life to be hard. Mr. Discouragement like a video game villain pops his head up with uncanny frequency.
The seeds of discouragement seem to be embedded both in the humanness of my DNA and within the dark recesses of culture. “You are not good enough, you will never arrive, you must do better,” the culture shouts. “Is God really aware of the speed bumps that consistently appear in my path?” When I listen discouragement results.
As age creeps up, body deterioration with related challenges becomes a daily experience. Reality sets in and medical appointments become more frequent on my agenda than dreams and goals from the days of healthy vitality. Limitations tend to discourage.
Here is what I think.
When I peruse my Bible, I find Jesus offers the antidote. He prescribes encouragement. The taproot of encouragement is nurtured from three springs. God gifts me with His encouragement through my closeness; to Scripture, to the Holy Spirit, and to other Jesus followers.
To the degree I open my life up to consistency on these three fronts I will find lesser or greater victories over discouragement. I want to live in such a way that Scripture, Spirit and siblings in Jesus are more than a scheduled worship encounter with the church.
However, that is not to say that I can do without the worship assembly. I have a deep need to meet God through worship for my own encouragement.
For it is in the presence of other disciple where simultaneously I experience all three sources of encouragement. I am encouraged through the Holy Gathering from brothers and sisters. I hear from Scripture and led in the process by the Holy Spirit.
It is when I engage in communal worship that I receive through assembly a word from God and encouragement for my soul while led by the Holy Spirit of Father and Son.
In the Acts of the Apostles I discover a summation statement at a certain point in the life of the early church: Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, . . . (Acts 9:31).
Here is what I wonder. Could it be that the worship assembly is designed to benefit me? Is it a place where in the act of the presentation of my gift to God—through all aspects of the assembly—the Holy Spirit is at work to gift me in return with the gift of encouragement?
I would love to hear your thoughts. What have I missed? Are there other ways God gifts encouragement to you?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: In Assembly God Gifts Me with His Encouragement