And nothing satisfying there I found;
But to the blessed local church one day I came,
Where springs of living water do abound.
This week I was reminded again about the state of my spirit which was like a dry barren land, and in dire need of refreshing splash of the Holy Ghost. Time and time again, God has made himself clear before me, in so many ways. He was always there, in spirit but because of the life I used to live, I had difficulty in hearing Him, and discerning His voice because I was overwhelmed by the worldly noises. Roman 8:8 (NIV) Those in the realms of flesh cannot please God.
I had my moments where I drifted away from God, but knowing Jesus love, I was never drifting apart from him. He longs for me to come home, and celebrates my return. No one is truly alive outside of Jesus. Nothing of this world could ever satisfy. Not even subtances, and man, only Jesus. My soul found nothing in the barren land, but in Him I have found richness of life, a clarity and peace of mind, a firm foundation to face the dawn of a new day.
Holy spirit reminded me about the parable of the two sons. One who was away from the father, spent all his fortunes before deciding to return to his father and one who was the upright prodigal son. Jesus used this parable to expose the hypocrisy and hard-heartedness of the Pharisees and religious leaders in contrast to those who recognize their need for a savior, repent, and humble themselves before God.
It got me thinking, how big of a heart our God is, to be such a loving and accepting Father even when we drifted away from Him. In this case, I was never the prodigal son, I was spiritually rebellious. I refused to believe in His miracles, and His work in my life. I knew of His Word but never really practised hollines. But funny enough, my whole life has been His greatest work of art. From the plain canvas that I was, he painted my journey, though rocky but art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. The Artist has the full control on the paint brush strokes and would add finishing touches on the underlying layers to give it a better dimension. In His eyes, it is beautiful , and He proudly calls it His work of art.
If only we could understand the heart of God and the passion of Christ in our lives, that we would trust and praise in Him fully even when we do not feel Him close, and even on bad days, during depressive episodes, anxiety and panic attacks.
James 1:2–6 tells us "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
Just when you feel lonely, unlovable and unworthy, or feel like you have nothing and no one. God had first loved us, shaped us in His image. It took me years to understand my image in Him, because I had trouble loving and accepting all that I was, there were always conversatios about how I hated my body, I wished my hair is this, I wished I was born rich, this and that but this morning God revealed His heart to me, saying I am His image and if anything or anyone is to blame, it's the unattainable living standard in the barren land we are living in which had distorted our image in Him. Children of God should live in Him and according to His words alone.
I was getting ready for the service today, and I remember how I wished I could cover my entirety because I thought I looked messy and no one would want to look at me. But God reprimanded and reminded me that the reason I was going to the church is to seek Him, not the approval of people, and I had a change of mindset, and encountered Him in the congregation.
I found myself waiting on Him and it was an indescribable experience today at the church. It was like a river flowing in and out of me. In which the Lord reminds me of the state of spirit and heart I was in. The whole mindset about going to the house God to please people has to change, when we are supposed to wait on Him, expect Him, and not expecting the crowd, not even the music, and not our outer state of appearances, but the internal attitude of worship. It is an attitude of reverence, praise, thirst, honour and that of gratitude. Many local churches seem to undervalue the importance of focusing on our inner state during worship.
John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
The best kind of worship is the one where you praise Him in your alone time, in your bedroom, and at times you have given up. So, this is an encouragement to anyone reading this, to praise Him even when it hurts, even in the desert, whatever life situations you are in, God is there.
Dr. Aaronn Avit Ajeng, Ph.D.