I am not ashamed of the gospel...
Thoughts for Today:A few years ago at a Men's Retreat I spoke about worship -- our personal worship to and of the Lord. I began on my knees and explained, "This is where I do my best work. Not trying to do stuff for the Lord, but beginning in humble submission to His will, then letting Him lead." You see getting on my knees is the best way I have to express His lordship and leadership of my life -- and I am not ashamed to let everyone know (by doing so) that I worship Jesus.
We next sang a song and I raised my hands in praise. I encouraged the men to join me as I quoted Nehemiah 8:6, "Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, 'Amen! Amen!' Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground." Then I asked them, "Are you ashamed of the Gospel -- ashamed of Jesus? Are you too prideful to submit to Him?" Several of the men took hold of my witness that day and have made lifting of their hands and bowing before the Lord a part of their regular worship -- and have told me it has made a huge difference in their lives.
It all started for me many years ago when Sherry and I visited a small church and the pastor asked me personally, "Are you ashamed of the Gospel?" "Of course not," I answered somewhat offended. He asked, "Then why is it so hard for you to raise your hands in worship?" "Pride," I thought, "is the opposite of submission and humility -- its the reason I won't lift my hands." I resolved to change.
Questions to Ponder:How would you respond to one of your baseball heroes who has just hit a home run? Would you join in giving him a standing ovation? What about your favorite musician following a performance? Most of us don't seem to have much of a problem honoring men -- so why is it so difficult to honor God? Take a long hard look at your personal worship. Does it reflect humility or pride? Are you ashamed of the Gospel? What needs to change?
[Author's note: I am not suggesting a greater or lesser closeness to Christ is demonstrated in how we choose to worship Him. Only God knows the condition of our hearts. For me, because of my own pride issues, I sometimes need to express my submission and humility physically -- most of the time I do this privately. Today's devotion is my personal witness and is not meant to criticize or judge another's relationship with the Lord. In the assembly (church), I am also very careful that my own choice of worship is not offensive to others.]