I’ve been reading Chris Tomlin’s book, The Way I Was Made. It’s both a humbling and an inspiring book at the same time. One of the things Chris talks about is true worship. It’s not so much about the music or even the musician. It’s about the heart of those who have gathered to worship. He gives an example in the book where he and the band were playing and the crowd was screaming, but then he noticed that they were screaming at the wrong spots with respect to the song. So he took a step back from the lights to see what was going on and noticed they’re doing the Wave. So the band stops playing. That quickly got everyone’s attention. And once he had everyone’s attention, Chris gently rebuked the crowd by reminding them that it’s okay to have fun, but if they were going to have fun here, it was focusing on the right Person. The Wave is a self-focused/group-focused activity. Wrong person (or people). Worship is a God-focused activity. Right Person. Chris and the band were there to be God-focused. The folks got the message. They began clapping and centered on worshipping God. They needed the right focus and God used Chris to provide it.
I think about how easy it is to get away from a proper focus of God. Take prayer, for instance. Often times prayer is rushed and hurried. It’s more about us than it is about God. More about the concerns and cares we have in our lives than it is about His majesty. And it’s often not our primary focus, even as we’re doing it. We’re not urgent in our prayers. We’re not desperate. We’re not so surrendered to be willing to do anything for Him if He would hear our prayers. But that’s not the way we’re supposed to be. Prayer, like every other aspect of our lives, is to be God-focused. As an example, let’s take the first part of Psalm 61:
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
– Psalm 61:1-2, NIV
Are we this desperate in our prayers? Are we willing to call to God from the ends of the earth? Are we still calling even as our energy wanes, even as we feel our strength leaving us? Are we that focused on prayer? For most of us, the answer is, “No.” And it’s not just about prayer. It is about worship. It is about serving. It is about anything to do with God. We let life intrude. We let it get in the way. We don’t mean to, but there it is. And we know God understands, so we keep doing what we’re doing. After all, we’re not perfect. We’re bombarded with responsibilities. We’re trying the best we can. Right?
We know all those things I just wrote are excuses that we’ve probably all used. Giving time and priority to life and the world around us doesn’t take care of our relationship with God. But giving time and priority to our relationship with God certainly takes care of life and the world around us! We’ve gotten so overwhelmed that we’ve forgotten this important truth. And every so often we need a jolt from the Holy Spirit to remind us. We need Him to give us the right focus once again. We need to become desperate for God, for seeing Him, for desiring Him, that we would go to the ends of the earth for Him. Let this weekend be such a time. Let your earthly cares be set aside as you pursue to Almighty Creator and Loving God who saved us. Focus on the relationship with Christ and not the stresses of life. Give Him the priority with what strength you have left. He will answer. He will be there. So let us seek His face.