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).