Do you remember to dance?

delight“Jerry, you ought to mow that lawn today.” “The wind in that storm blew branches all over the yard. You should make time to clean them up.”  “You must get prepared for that meeting now.”   Sometimes I awaken at 2 or 3 am and my mind starts in with the list!  My personality is a blessing in the sense that it makes me responsible and lets me get many things accomplished. It is a curse when I allow responsibility to push joy and peace out of my life, or worse, when I fail to love others because I am too focused on the task at hand.  Sometimes I forget that it’s just time to dance! Given my personality, I know that I must always guard against losing the joy of living to the drudgery of duty!

Is your practice of Christianity a list of duties done just because they must be done? Do you feel the weight of expectations, or a sense of compulsion that whispers: “Go to church! Read the Bible! Pray! Tithe! Deal with temptation! Serve!”?

All of those choices are worthy actions of a person who loves God. He desires that we gather with others to worship. When we open the Scripture, both privately and with others, we learn of Who He is. Prayer connects us to the Lord and brings His power to bear on this present world. Yes, each of those things is good when done for the right reason and not simply out of sense of dutiful obligation. We are beloved children of the Heavenly Father and more than what we do, He desires to own our heart, to be the focus of our passions. The Lord made this complaint – “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.” (Isaiah 29:13, NLT)  Now read this song – “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10, NLT)  God’s desire of us is that we feel the same kind of joyfulness in Him that a newly married man finds in his beloved bride or that a bride feels on her wedding day.

Have you just settled for a dutiful relationship with God? Yes, we need to do what God calls us to do. We need to override our emotions and make the choice to practice the disciplines responsibly. However, there is more for us. Our hearts can be presented to Christ. It is not wrong to expect to be ‘in love with Jesus,’ feeling His Presence, delighted by the life we find in Him.  If you are a joyless Christian, perhaps you need to re-examine your life. Honestly ask – is my heart aligned with my words? Do I find real joy in the Presence of the Lord?

This morning, in the stillness, with the sunshine splashing on the trees, God’s whisper in my heart was a reminder.  I knew again, what I have known in the past.  Even when I am doing ‘nothing’ the love of my Father is active. He is pursuing me, loving me, surrounding me with grace – everywhere and all the time.  He does not love me for what I do, but for who I am. And, as John says, “we love because He loved us first!

So, here is the right order for life –

Love, first; then the responsibilities.

Delight, then duty.

Here’s a word from the Word.
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and
beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

I will praise you as long as I live,

and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” (Psalm 63:1-5, NIV)
_______

 

You dance over me

While I am unaware

You sing all around

But I never hear the sound

 

Lord I’m amazed by You

Lord I’m amazed by You

Lord I’m amazed by You

How You love me

 

You paint the morning sky

With miracles in mind

My hope will always stand

You hold me in Your hand

 

How wide how deep

How great is Your love for me

 

Amazed

-Jared Anderson

© 2004 Integrity Worship Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (IMI))

CCLI License # 810055

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