“Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you. With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death.” Psalm 86:11-13
My soul longs for the praise and glory of God to be continuously on my heart. I long to live like the famed people in Hebrews 11, that despite all that the world showed them, their posture was one of continuous praise and faith. I think all of us long for Psalm 86:11-13 to be the cry of our hearts. But how do we do this? How do we take this scripture and let it be our rally cry, to not only lead others into Easter weekend, but to devote every waking moment to loving God so that our hearts would grow in longing to hear our heavenly father say, with love in his eyes, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
There are a few things that I think will help us in this journey.
The first, is to take sin seriously. Our King did not die for us on the most egregious torment tool used by the Roman Empire to give excuses for our sin. He paid the price so that we would rid sin from our lives, not excuse it. He did it so that we could be free from sin and death, and unite our hearts with him. Too many times we take sin lightly; we act as though it is a mere understanding that can be annulled by circumstance or internal excuse. But God never intended for us to treat sin this way. After the author of Hebrews lists the great hall of faith in chapter 11, they then write in Hebrews 12:1-3…
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Every WEIGHT and SIN… it’s interesting, the walk of faith is not only ridding sin, but anything unhealthy that slows us down in our run towards Christ. But what the author doesn’t say is this: “hide that sin, it’s ok, you work hard, you deserve it”, or “well…. it’s not that big of a deal because…”. No, my friends, sin is nothing to be excused, it is to be confessed and fled from. It is to be labeled as death to our souls and enmity towards God. So, let us run from it. Let us confess it. Let us honor the sacrifice of our Lord.
The second is to be reminded that we live to give God glory— what a beautiful and honorable task.
Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
All that we do in life should be aimed towards one goal: giving God glory. Because of this, let us loosen our grip on what we do in ministry as the only way we minister or relate to God. Rather, it’s our heart for the Lord, our love for the Lord, and our zeal for the Lord, that is the greatest of all ministries. It is a life given unto the goal of giving God glory that will minister the most. The greatest worship and ministry we can provide is a heart that is completely surrendered to the Lord.
The third and final is to praise him in everything. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.” Philippians 4:4
We all have difficulty in life. We all have those times that just seem unfair. To rejoice in the Lord does not mean to look at our life and simply adjust our praise meter. It is to look at the unchanging sovereign God that holds our salvation with care, and has rescued us from death and destruction. He is always good, He is always worthy of praise, in every season.
My prayer for us all, is that we would make Psalm 86:11-13 our rally cry and that we won’t get lost in all the “to do’s” leading up to Easter. Instead, let’s get lost in the beauty of God’s forgiveness as we run from sin. Let’s get lost in the act of praising Him as we take time to see His goodness and love. And let’s get lost in the joy that is felt by glorifying God in all that we do. Whether you are singing on stage, strumming a guitar, writing an email, setting up a strategy, or preparing a curriculum, remember… the greatest ministry that we can do, is to let the light of Jesus Christ shine through us before all those whom we encounter. Amen!
Take a few minutes by yourself or with the team you serve with to reflect on this…
- To what extent do you take your sin seriously? In what way are you working to rid yourself from the sin in your life in order to endure through temptation and live a life of joy?
- How is the glory of God being seen in your life? Meaning…when others see your life, where would they recognize God’s glory?
- What does it look like for you to praise God in this moment for who he is, and not based upon what’s happening in your life? How can you carry that into your ministry in order to more fully honor God and be a blessing to others?