When you are truly joyful, you are wound up by some mighty dynamic power; you feel strong, you are lifted up above yourself, you are ready to meet every enemy from every direction and quarter; you smile in the face of them all; you say, ‘I defy them, they can never rob me of it.’ The joy of the Lord is your strength; it is a strong power, a mighty robust thing.”
–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“The easy way is always mined.”
–U.S. Army saying
Now I like to be comfortable, but I think at times we may have gone too far in producing it. I hear all the time that people want to have fun, to be happy, and not worry about life. But as I’ve stated here before, “Life is not a picnic.” Yet we are admonished to worship God in “spirit and in truth.” It is not to be reserved for inside a church building or a particular service. The word “truth” means “reality.” We are to worship in reality; that means our lifestyle should be one of worship and that is true if we really believe that the person is the “temple of the Holy Spirit.”
But we have “become professionals at creating comfortable, uplifting, even pleasurable environments,” not for our life, but for our worship. How many of us could worship as Job did, when he lost everything? How many of us could worship when homes are taken away? Do we really depend upon a power that is beyond ourselves when things run amuck? We tend to make people feel good for the moment; put a bandaid on their hurts rather than dig out the cancer. Just forget about your struggles and problems; or claim they do know longer exist. The reality of the situation is that they are still there.
I like what Gary Wilkerson wrote, “God’s presence is meant to bring light to our eyes. It shows us the difference between the wheat and the chaff in our lives. That’s why God’s Word is called a refining fire: It purifies. It’s also called a sword, an instrument that pierces and cuts. These tools are used to separate things, dividing the pure from the impure.”
We prefer, no, we demand comfort; we demand pleasure. Look at the worship in many churches. It is “I” centered. I do this, I do that, I, I, I. I recall that many years ago, I spoke on the error of the “Big I.” Little did I realize that this would become the central commodity in many churches. Preacher make me feel good; song leader make me feel good. When we leave the service we want to be able to say, “I feel good.” Go back to the idea that the believer is supposed to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. When you walk down the street, does His holiness go with you? When you go into any store, restaurant, or place of amusement, is His holiness exuding from you?
Ira Paine (thanks to a sermon by Gary Wilkerson for some thoughts)
“They say to the seers,’Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy the truth to us. Tell us flattering things. Prophesy illusions.'”
–Isaiah 30:10 (HCSB)