For me, fulfilling the 30/30 worship challenge has been both inspiring and a big learning opportunity. At times, like when we were gliding quietly across the calm seas of the Galilee, praise and worship were spontaneous eruptions that flowed freely from our hearts.
At other times, worship was an act of discipline. That fact alone spoke volumes to me. You see, I never have to use discipline to love on my wife. If anything, I have to use discipline to focus on other areas of life. Loving my wife is the easiest, most natural thing in the world for me. Every morning I can hardly wait till she’s up so I can love on her and enjoy her love.
But with God it seems, loving Him needs a little push and shove on occasion. Why is that? I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t know Him well enough. For me, knowing Him comes from spending time with Him, reading His Word, listening for His voice and enjoying His creation. The more I do that, the more I want to do that.
This 30/30 worship challenge has helped me focus on loving God, learning what matters to Him, and doing that. At times in the last 3 weeks, I’ve gotten out of bed at night because I remembered I hadn’t spent my 30 minutes in worship. I can tell you honestly, that those times didn’t always feel worshipful, at least in the beginning. In fact, I sometimes felt a bit like a religious phony, “worshiping God” when all I wanted was to just call it a night, watch the news and get some sleep.
But it wasn’t phony.
You see, I wasn’t doing this to win God’s approval or perform some vain religious duty. I was doing this because I WANT to love Him more than I do. I WANT to know Him better. I WANT to hear His voice more clearly. I WANT to give my Lord my every breath, even if I don’t feel like it.
For me, it has been a lot like the man who lashed himself to the mast of a ship during the storm to keep himself from being washed off the boat and lost at sea. He doesn’t really want to be tied up to the mast, but even more than that, he doesn’t want to be lost in the storm.
And there’s a storm coming…
Mark my words. You’re always either heading into a storm, going through a storm or coming out of a storm. Storms are part of life. A big part. When I lash myself to the mast, it’s like tying myself to the cross with Christ in preparation for the sufferings of the coming or current storm. (I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live.) It is critical for my survival and for yours too, I suspect.
The longer I stay tied up with Him, the more I find myself conformed to His image. The more frequently I lash myself to the mast, the more my desires become one with His. Naturally, lashing oneself to the mast of a ship in the midst of a storm is not a pleasant thing, but there is a fellowship to be had in the midst of the suffering of the storm that cannot be found anywhere else. It’s in those times, that it’s just you and Jesus. Best be tied to Him than to be washed overboard by an angry wave.
If you’re just coming out of a storm, know this… there’s another one coming! So develop the habit of lashing yourself to the mast and begin to enjoy the sweet fellowship that can only be found when you tie yourself to Him. As for me, the 30/30 challenge is becoming a way of life and I find myself wanting more. And that’s been worth it all!
As for the theology of storms, Jonah was running from the will of God and got caught in a storm, Paul was running to the will of God and was caught in a storm, Jesus was the expressed will of God and was in a number of storms, so storms are not an indicator of being in or out of God’s will. Storms happen and when they do, be sure you are securely tied to the mast (the cross of Christ).
I love this post, Michael. One of my favorites that you have written. But then, there are so many that are my favorites. : )
Thank you so much my precious Judy Ann! You are the best example I know of, of a person who loves and lives to worship God. You are my inspiration! Always have been!
I love what you said about storms coming to everyone, no matter if you are in the perfect will of God or not, they still come. No one is exempt. Too many religious folks are quick to judge others going thru a storm instead of being an anchor of faith and encouragement for them.
Thank you for all you and Judy do,
He is risen indeed Lili! Judy and I appreciate you posting your comments. They not only encourage us but also many other readers! Bless you!
I am reminded of Nehemiah 8:10…the joy of the Lord is our strength. Once, when preparing for a lesson, I did a word study on “joy” used in that particular passage…and the root of the word means to “be joined to.” I was ecstatic as I realized that the Lord’s joy was being joined to us. That is the strength that, when in worship, moves me more into “his joining.” It has been an incredible, challenging and confusing three weeks for me…however, I find myself weeping more as the hunger increases and my own lack of total “joining” from my side becomes even more apparent. I refuse to leave this earth, face Him and say I did not have time for Him nor room in my heart because of others. Romans 12:1 reminds us that the presenting of ourselves to Him is our reasonable service…or I like to say…ministry. Thanks for the nudge to re-examine and not assume my own worship.
Hi Joanne… Like you, I feel the hunger intensifying. Judy also. She blogged about her experience today and the Lord used your Facebook post to confirm some things she got in prayer today! Thanks for sharing like you have. I didn’t know that the word “joy” in Nehemiah meant “be joined to”. That’s encouraging!
Hello 30/30 team and for all or most of us we are beyond the 30 days, day 50 for me and now this discipline is now part of who I am. Always had daily prayer and quiet time for over 13 years consistently now adding Worship and Praise to the King each day has added a deeper richness to the journey. Thank you for the challenge.
Health update. Last week had a “bone biopsy” and should have results today or tomorrow. I covet your prayers and I am trusting our Lord, growing in faith, going deeper with Him. Thank you for your prayers 30/30 family, much appreciated and as the Lord leads, may they continue. Amen.
Thanks for letting us know. I can say the worship challenge definitely changed my practices and relationship with the Lord and I am glad for it. Please let us know how things stand when you get the results my brother!