Posts Tagged “William Temple”

 This last blog in the “Heart of a Worshipper” series (HWS) summarizes all the characteristics I’ve written about. You can find the articles about each characteristic here. Much of this series has been revolutionary to my walk with Christ. I hope it’s impacted you as well. Today’s blog hits the two things that have impacted me more than all the other things put together. Read on…

The Heart of a Worshipper

For almost three months we’ve studied the heart of a worshipper. We’ve seen a progression of the worshipper’s heart as he or she pursues God more diligently. Let’s review all 7 qualities:

  • A hungry heart – one that desires to know God more intimately.
    • A pursuing heart  one that follows hard after Jesus. It is the action that results from having a hungry heart.
      •  A transparent or unveiled heart  one that allows the Light of Life (Jesus) to shine through it so that He can reveal to us what is hidden in it’s most private corners.
        • A vulnerable heart the heart that suppresses our “fight or flight” response as we sit at Jesus’ feet and allow Him to change us. It is the logical extension of the transparent heart.
          • A willing heart  one that is predisposed to say “Yes, Lord.” It is also the obedient heart.
            • A free heart  the heart that is unencumbered by sin, condemnation and fear.
              • A secure heart  the heart that is confidently established in the knowledge of Christ’s love.

Where are you in this progression?

  • Are you satisfying your hungry heart by pursuing God diligently?
  • Are you remaining transparent and vulnerable before God and His people?
  • Are you obedient and increasing in your victory over sin?
  • Do you reject condemnation and fear?
  • Has that lead you to a place of steadfastness in Christ, a place of calm and joy despite life’s circumstances?

I wish I could say that I’m always at that steadfast place, but I’m not. In this final article, I’d like to share two teachings that have helped me to become a greater worshipper of God.

Developing Childlikeness

He [Jesus] called a little child and had him stand among them. And he [Jesus] said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ”
          Matthew 18:2-4

While reading this a dozen or so years ago, I was struck by the word “change.” That means that being childlike doesn’t come naturally, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. From a very young age, children are trying to be older than they are. And while we try madly to reverse the process once we reach a certain age, we still don’t want to be considered childlike. Children are unsophisticated. They’re annoyingly spontaneous. They’re immature. I want to be sophisticated, in control and mature. Yet Scripture says I should change and become like a little child.

So I began to focus on children and the qualities they possess that I lack. And then I worked at changing to become more childlike. This was a step of obedience. Being willing to be childlike regardless of what others thought was a HUGE step for me. I’ve always had an overactive “what will people think” response. But I wanted to be more concerned about what God thinks, so I began to change. Here are some of the childlike behaviors that I saw and began to imitate.

Humility and trust – Verse 4 specifically says that God values humility. I see humility in children as trust without understanding. Children trust. Period. They don’t have to understand how it works or why it works, they simply trust what they’ve been told. I often require understanding before I give my trust. When I examine that attitude under a microscope, I find that at the root of it is pride. I am essentially saying, “Unless you explain it to me in such a way that I understand it and agree with it, I’m not going to trust you.” Or maybe I’m saying, “I don’t trust you to do what’s best for me. I only trust myself. Therefore, I must understand before I extend my trust to you.” Either way, there’s too much pride in the attitude. Scripture teaches by word and example that God is more loving than I can ever imagine, that He loves me more than I can imagine, and that He desires good things for me. I believe that. (Lord, help my unbelief!) The action that’s required on my part is that I place my trust in Him. Lack of trust shows up in adults in many ways: The need to control situations, the unwillingness to fully submit to God’s will in one or many areas, and the attitude of rebellion are just a few.

Spontaneity and joy  The two seem to go together in children. Children are discovering God’s world for the first time and they find great delight in it. (I’ve seen more spiders than I care to see, so I no longer take much delight in them.) By nature, I’m serious and reserved. When I look at my personal history, though, I can see that part of that nature developed as a defense against being hurt or judged negatively. So I’ve made a decision. I’ve decided that God wants me to take delight in His creation. I need to see it through the eyes of a child and be willing to respond to it like a child. That means being willing to be thought a fool for laughing aloud or skipping in the rain or showing awe when it’s appropriate. My adult response is to suppress the laughter, carry an umbrella, and act nonchalant toward new things. God wants me to be childlike. And I’ve found that life is more enjoyable this way. It continues to be a struggle for me, something I must repeatedly remind myself about, but when I’m successful at it I enjoy life more, and I’m confident that it pleases God.

I am the Bride of Christ
In addition to beginning to understand what it means to be childlike, I’ve begun to have a greater understanding of my position in Christ and before God: Scriptures teaches that I am the Bride of Christ. Not only does God love me, but Jesus is “in love” with me. The Bible says He “delights” in me. When I began to understand how totally, unconditionally and passionately Jesus is in love with me it changed my heart and increased my passion for Him. It also gave me the confidence to be transparent with Him and the courage to be childlike in His presence. It revolutionized my worship of Him and my desire to draw near to Him.

The Transformed Heart
While I have loved the Lord for thirty years, I have only been “in love” with Him for about fifteen. It was about fifteen years ago when I began to study childlikeness and Bride of Christ teachings. That led to studying the topic of worship and pursuing God through worship. The result is that my life has been transformed from the inside out.

In the first article of this series I included a definition of worship by William Temple, the archbishop of Canterbury from 1942 to 1944. It’s somewhat long but it explains how worship transforms the worshipper. I’d like to close the series with the same quote. If you find yourself fitting the description Temple gives in the first sentence, please ask God to help you make worship a priority. It will undoubtedly change your life.

“Both for perplexity and for dulled conscience the remedy is the same; sincere and spiritual worship. For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is:
     the quickening of our conscience ………………………. by His holiness;
     the nourishment of mind ………………………………….. with His truth;
     the purifying of imagination ……………………………… by His beauty;
     the opening of the heart …………………………………… to His love;
     the surrender of will ………………………………………… to His purpose
– and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.

Yes – worship in spirit and truth is the way to the solution of perplexity and to the liberation from sin.”

Lord, help me to be one who worships you in spirit and truth.

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This blog is the next in our “Heart of a Worshipper” series (HWS). You can find all of the blogs that have been published in this series listed here.

A Transparent Heart is…A Vulnerable Heart (Part 2)

Yesterday’s blog focused on the vulnerability that results from having a transparent heart and why that is so very scary. We only dealt with half the equation, though – that is, being vulnerable before God. Today we’ll look at being vulnerable in our relationship with other people.

Vulnerable Toward Others – Christ is Our Example

Having a vulnerable heart doesn’t apply only to our attitude toward God. If Christ is our example, we see that He chose to be vulnerable here on earth. He chose to love first. And it led to His death. To become Christ-like, then, we would also choose to love first and to die to self. We shouldn’t in any way deceive ourselves into thinking that the process of transformation is an easy one. Changing us into the likeness of Christ means methodically killing our flesh and our fleshly desires.

I heard one speaker describe it this way: God and Satan have one goal in common: They both want us dead – Scripture tells us that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy; it also teaches that one of the Holy Spirit’s primary functions in our lives is to kill our flesh.

Being transformed means being reshaped and remolded; it means changing and most of us kind of like things the way they are. Remember the phrase from William Temple’s definition of worship: Worship is many things, all “gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore [worship is] the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.”

Worship, by its very essence, attacks our selfishness and self-centeredness, working the transformation process in our hearts, making it easier to work the transformation in our actions. Can the transformation happen without worship? Perhaps. But worship makes the transformation so much easier because it changes our heart, making it easier for us to work with the Holy Spirit to change our actions.

In his book A Divine Confrontation, Graham Cooke reminds us that God is not seeking a powerful people to represent Him. Rather, He looks for all those who are weak, foolish, despised, and written off; and He inhabits them with His own strength. He has not come to give strength, but to be strength to us as we relate to Him in weakness. If we do all that we can to NOT be vulnerable (which is our natural response), we quickly disqualify ourselves as people God can use. Keeping a transparent heart in worship allows us to remain vulnerable to God and He teaches and enables us to be vulnerable to others.

We must understand the difference between vulnerability and insecurity. All God’s dealings with us are to create maximum dependence upon Him. He calls us to do the impossible. He demands that we see what is invisible. He thrusts us into situations that overwhelm us. It could be rescuing more than a million people from bondage to the most cruel, occult, and oppressive regime of the day. (Moses managed to do it.) Or it could be…living a Godly life in an ungodly work environment. Either way it requires that we be vulnerable to God and to others.

When we are vulnerable, we see our inadequacies in the light of God’s sovereignty and power, and we discover hope and faith. Like Paul, we rejoice in our weaknesses that the power of Christ may rest upon us (see 2 Cor. 12:9-10). The whole point of vulnerability is to bring us to a place of restful dependence in a powerful and overcoming God. Vulnerability is knowing that God is happy to send us out as lambs amongst wolves because He is hugely confident in His own ability to watch over us and work through our weaknesses.

Graham Cooke concludes his short discussion with this sentence: “Vulnerability is given by God to release His presence, which builds self-esteem and confidence in God’s sovereignty.” Again, we see transformation in worship.

Lord, grant us vulnerability in worship. Give us transparent hearts. Grace us with a confidence in Your sovereignty and ability to use us in our weaknesses.

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This blog is the first in a new series of blogs called “The Heart of a Worshipper” series, or HWS. May you be blessed and transformed as you grow in your own worship of the King of Kings.

Changed by Intimacy with God
I am an enthusiastic worshipper, but I haven’t always been so. I’ve known and followed the Lord for almost thirty years. Throughout that time, I’ve done a lot of teaching and shepherding, but it wasn’t until about fourteen years ago that I started to become a worshipper – that is, I began to understand the difference between singing hymns and songs in church services and worshipping God. Those who have known me for only a few years can’t begin to know the degree to which I was an uptight, overly serious, self-conscious worshipper of God. Much of the change that I have experienced has come through the transformation that occurs as I pursue God in worship.

Let me say at the outset that I recognize that worship is so much more than spending time with God. Many things can be considered part of our worship, including acts of obedience and service. Those are at least as important, perhaps more so, than the worship I’m addressing here. I find, though, that most of us are better at the obedience and service than we are at sitting at the feet of Jesus. It’s easy for the more personal and intimate type of worship to be neglected sometimes. Most of us are much more like Martha than Mary. But Jesus told Mary that Martha had chosen “what is better.” (Luke 10:42) Sitting at the feet of Jesus in adoration and love is what I’m addressing in this blog and in a series of blogs that will follow in the coming month.

This kind of worship has transformed me into a child of God, instead of being an adult of God. It has allowed me to experience awe and wonder as I gaze at His beauty. It has also allowed me to shed much of my self-consciousness as I began to understand the great, great, unconditional love God has for me. Caring too much about what others think is a form of bondage that keeps us from responding to God and from enjoying life. In worship I’ve experienced and come to understand more about how very much God loves me, and as a result I have become much more obedient and I enjoy life a whole lot more.

Worship has trained me to run to Him for comfort and protection in a way I never did before, because He holds my heart. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:21) It wasn’t obedience or serving Him that enabled me to give Him my heart, it was sitting at His feet in worship. Obedience and service caused faith, trust and character to grow in me. Sitting at His feet developed love.

So I am excited about writing this series of blogs about worship. I can truly say that worship has transformed my life and that the deeper I go in worship or the higher priority I make it in my life, the more the Lord is able to change me into the image of Christ. It’s my prayer that through these blogs, you will be inspired to pursue worship to a greater degree.

I am not Unique!
As I’ve studied worship over the past few years, nearly every book I’ve read validates my experience. They all say that worship transforms the worshipper, enabling him or her to accomplish the things God has for them. Tozer put it this way:

“The beautiful part of worship is that it prepares you and enables you to zero in on the important things that must be done for God.”
          A.W. Tozer

William Temple, the archbishop of Canterbury from 1942 to 1944 provided a rather long but excellent definition of worship. It explains how worship transforms the worshipper:

“Both for perplexity and for dulled conscience the remedy is the same; sincere and spiritual worship. For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is:

          the quickening of our conscience ………………………. by His holiness;
          the nourishment of mind ………………………………….. with His truth;
          the purifying of imagination ……………………………… by His beauty;
          the opening of the heart ………………………………….. to His love;
          the surrender of will ……………………………………….. to His purpose

– and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin. Yes – worship in spirit and truth is the way to the solution of perplexity and to the liberation from sin.”
          William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1942-1944

Can one help but be transformed by worship, when it has the potential for all these things? If you want to grow in holiness, truth, love, service, and your capacity to enjoy the wonder of God, there can be only one remedy – spend more time in personal, private worship. Just you and God. Alone. Together. It will start a transformation process that can only lead to good things!

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