This summer, the Holy Spirit started knocking louder than usual at the door of my mind, showing me that the Christian life must be a life of worship, faith and joy in the Spirit. This came through our guest speakers, who reminded us that Church and Christian living are supposed to be fun and full of joy, but also thanks to our own visits to other churches during the holidays, which refreshed us through their joy and contagious faith, as well as their inspiring worship. Christians cannot accomplish anything good unless they are regularly filled with the Holy Spirit, equipped to accomplish the good works that he calls us to do.
In the context of this challenge which is ours as a church, many pictures have encouraged me and I would like to share them down here.
The first picture is that of Ezekiel’s River. In the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet has a vision of the Temple of Yahweh, and out of this new Temple flows a river, filling the desert, producing fruit and healing the nations. This River is usually understood as being the Spirit of God and often this passage is taught as an encouragement to go deeper in the Spirit’s activity. What stands out to me in this passage is that the Spirit’s activity, producing fruit everywhere He goes, healing the nations, has its source in the Temple! The temple is the Church. The Church and the spirit are closely linked in the Bible, because the Spirit is the presence of God interacting directly with men. And this activity, this power, is the result of the building of God’s Temple. We are the temple, so the Spirit springs from us! That is what Jesus was talking about when he said that living waters would spring from those who come to him. The Spirit of God wants to make us outlets for his power and life.
This picture develops further, because Andy shared a picture that connects to the first one. What he saw was the river of God which is stopped by a stone. Removing the stone allows the river to flow. This rock could represent many things in our lives: discouragement, shyness, lack of love for God or people, despondency with regards to church life, stiffness (sometimes theological)… examine your own heart to see which one it is. But the thing that removes the stone which blocks us and stops us from living fully in the Spirit, is worship. Worship is a key to live in the fullness of the Spirit. When we truly worship, we can’t hold on to frustration, we can’t remain observers, complainers, or keep our guard up. Worship makes us overflow with thankfulness, it leads us to bring praise and glory to the one who deserves them, and allows us to be receptive to what God wants to give us. That is the challenge that is given to us. Worship! Seek to worship God! On Sundays, but also daily! Take moments in song, meditation on the Word and give thanks to him!
That is how we will accomplish our church’s vision: finding our joy in God (worshippers), living a life of obedience the spirit (disciples), producing fruit all around us, healing people, leading to the transformation of the nations (to bless the city and the world).
We talk about these things a lot, and sometimes we don’t see the fruit we wish we did. But a third picture can help us in this.
I was sharing the challenges of the church with a friend and he said to me, “I see your church as if walking around the city of Jericho.” The Israelites sure needed faith in order to walk around the city every day for a week, without shooting a single arrow, and then sounding the trumpets in the hope that God would act. They still did it, and that is how they conquered the city. Our act of faith is worship. While we worship, giving glory to God for his goodness, what he has done and what he will do, we seem insignificant in the eyes of the world. But in God’s timing, the walls will tumble down and we will conquer.
So let’s have faith. Let us grow in our worship lifestyle. This is not just for leaders, it is for everyone. When the world sees this, it will start shaking. Let us remove the stones that stop us from worshipping! Let us persevere and we will see great breakthrough!