Balancing Act

“Let my tongue sing about your word, for all your commands are right.” Psalm 119:172 NLT

Balancing Act

I have been wearing corrective lenses since I was in kindergarten. I remember the first time I wore them to school I was miserably teased. Throughout my growing up years I would continue to be teased for things such as my weight, glasses, and acne. I basically grew up with a distorted view of myself. God said one thing in his word, but I saw myself in a completely different way, based on the experiences my life had taught me. My focus was blurred.

Once I got to my early teens I recognized the need to lose weight or be condemned to a life as an outcast (in my mind that was my reality). What started off as diet and exercise developed into bulimia and self-mutilation; even attempted suicide. It took years of struggling with insecurity and doubt before I finally began to grasp how God made me truly was wonderful. It’s only been in the last couple of years that I have accepted my physical appearance and weight. I spent many hours in Psalm 139 pouring over passages about being fearfully and wonderfully made, but it never sank into my heart, it was a truth that remained in my head. As long as my focus remained on myself and my imperfections, I remained out of balance.

In much the same way we easily become out of balance when we approach the word of God. We often focus on our favorite passages and stay there. For some it’s Isaiah, some it’s Psalms, some it’s the Gospels. It’s easy to become out of balance when we don’t take in the word as a whole, how it was intended to be taken in. How many times have you seen a random verse be taken and used to support an idea you know to be contrary to the word of God as a whole?

Balance! We need balance!

I have been immersed in Psalm 119 for almost a year now, and surely over a year by the time this project is complete, and throughout this time I have not remained solely in this chapter or even this book. I have kept myself growing and learning through the resources of several other studies in other books of the Bible. God’s word was intended to be read as a whole, taken in as a whole, absorbed as a whole, and we often get confused when we take bits and pieces and build ideas and philosophies off of them. Let’s face it; there wouldn’t be dozens, if not hundreds of different religious denominations if there weren’t people interpreting Scriptures differently, with different focuses.

Psalm 119 is clear about one thing. Our focus should always be the word, not a chapter, or a verse, or even a book. Obviously we cannot read all of scripture at once, and sometimes “reading through the Bible in a year” type plans can be a little dry and aren’t necessarily for everyone (though I recommend doing it at least once), but we can certainly stay balanced in our studies by not focusing solely on one passage over and over in our personal time. Doing so is like allowing our spiritual lenses to become blurry and distorted.

The Psalmist declares “…all your commands are right.”

”All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…” 2 Timothy 3:16

The word is right, the word is just, all the word profits, and the best way to stay balanced as a believer and continue to mature is to keep searching and learning and exploring passages new and fresh. Ask the Spirit to lead us to uncharted territory, books we’ve never read (Hezekiah anyone?!) or doctrines we’ve never studied. If nothing else, we can understand why we believe what we do even better, but as we search deeper into the word of God we will only be scratching the surface. We will discover the clever ways he has tied in his Old Testament prophecies, illustrations and stories with the coming of Jesus; we will see treasures never before uncovered due to apathy of what we didn’t know or fear of what we might not understand. There is enough in the righteous word of God to study for a lifetime! You might spend 30 days in this Psalm 119 devotional, and then move on to a Gospel, or perhaps an obscure Old Testament prophet! Be daring and try something new! You’ll be simply amazed at the intricacies of his word, and compelled to worship even more when you see every infinite detail! Truly you will want to let your tongue sing about the word!

Prayer

Lord, I ask that you keep me balanced as I spend time in your word. Keep me in your truth, guide me in your righteous word, and lead me in the studies you want me to participate in. Show me where I have been unbalanced in my spiritual life, perhaps focusing too much on one thing while neglecting something else. As I continue to walk in your ways today, convict me of any area that needs the corrective lens of your Holy Spirit to redirect my focus.

Delight, Desire…Worship

Delight, Desire….Worship

 “I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in My name.

Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

John 16:13 (NIV)

 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

 “Whom have I in heaven but You?

I desire You more than anything.”

Psalm 73:25 (NLT)

“Only as we truly delight in God is it safe to give us our desires, for then they are not likely to become idols. And by our delighting in God, He heals our false desires as our souls come true in light of their Maker. Worship becomes the means by which we most deeply heal our desire.

Worship is the act of the abandoned heart adoring its God.

Simply showing up for church on Sunday is not even close to worship. Neither does singing songs with religious content pass for worship. What counts is the posture of the soul involved, the open heart pouring forth its love toward God and communing with Him. It is a question of desire.

Worship occurs when we say to God, from the bottom of our hearts, ‘You are the One whom I desire.'”

John Eldredge (Desire)

As we come together week after week to bring “worship” to the congregation I believe it becomes imperative that we must first ask God to search our own hearts and motives and show us our inner most desires. Can we say to God, in all honesty that He is our only desire, above all else? How can we express true worship to our brothers and sisters in the congregation if our own hearts are not in the right place? It becomes clearer that just showing up on Sunday (and Wednesday) with our “talents” is not enough. The people need to see us fully abandoned before God, every Sunday. The only way we can do that is if we are delighting in Him every other day of the week.