Spiritual Worship… or is it War-ship?

In a very real sense, worship is often associated with warfare… Some have even referred to it as “War-ship.”  Unfortunately, many in the church today are fighting the wrong worship war.  Division within the ranks of the church is impeding the spiritual progress and advancement of the Kingdom of God! 

We are meant to engage in warfare, sure enough, but let’s not forget who the real enemy is!   You see, the enemy, crafty adversary that he is, knows that if he can get Christians fighting against each other, then we will never be able to march forward in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, tearing down strongholds and principalities in high places!  (see 2 Chronicles 20:1-22 for  the biblical foundation today). 

Let’s face it… WE ARE AT WAR!  2 Chronicles 20:1 says, “After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat.” 

1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering”

If you are doing anything of significance for the Lord God Almighty, then know this—you are on the devil’s hit list!  The devil has arrows and you have a big bulls-eye on your back!    

BASIC LESSONS WE CAN LEARN FROM JEHOSHAPHAT’S EXAMPLE

  1. Seek the Lord!  “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord” (20:3).  Matthew Henry writes, “Those that would seek the Lord so as to find him, and to find favor with him, must set themselves to seek him, must do it with fixedness of thought, with sincerity of intention, and with the utmost vigor and resolution to continue seeking him.”
  2. Practice the discipline of fasting.  “…He proclaimed a fast for all Judah” (v. 3).  Elmer Towns writes, “Although I do not think fasting is mandatory for believers today, I do believe the discipline is available to strengthen you spiritually and to help you overcome barriers that might keep you from living the victorious Christian life” (Fastng for Spiritual Breakthrough, p.13).
  3. Acknowledge your inadequacies. “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us” (20:12).  Zechariah 4:6 says, “’Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty”  (NIV).  We get into trouble when we try to face difficulties and challenges in our own strength, not relying on the power of God that is readily available to us!
  4. Prostrate yourself before the Lord in worship. “Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord” (20:18). 
    • “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Psalm 95:6)
    • Jack Hayford makes this powerful observation, “Of course the essence of falling on one’s face is more than laying the body down, but evidences a submission of our will—a sign that we totally forfeit self-will in favor of the will of the One before whom we prostrate ourselves.” 
    • Proskeuneo (the Greek word for bowing down) worship therefore implies absolute submission to the Lord.

RESULTS OF WORSHIPING IN OUR WARFARE

  1. A spirit of boldness will come upon you    
    1. “Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem!  Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld” (20:20)
  2. Faith will begin to rise within you
    1. Theologian Paul Tillich once stated, “Fear is the absence of faith.” 
    2. Romans 8:31 – “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
  3. God will fight for you
    1. “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated” (20:22)
    2. Waging war in our worship, by placing Christ at the very center of our lives, in total submission to His Lordship, will defeat every enemy and foe that we may come up against!
    3. If at first victory does not appear evident… keep praising Him!  Don’t give up.  Never, ever, ever, give up or give in!  And you will soon see victory in the battles in your life.

“To genuinely worship Jesus as Lord of all is immediately to challenge all false gods, and to pose a threat to their dark and dingy domains.” – A.W. Tozer.

It’s time to wage war, not against one another over petty issues and differences, but against the forces of darkness that are infiltrating our homes, our schools, our families, our neighborhoods, and our churches.  Lift up your voices with me won’t you, and declare Christ’s Lordship over your city!      

“For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4, NIV)

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The Risk of Being Overworked

I saw an interesting newspiece on TV a while back stating that “Overworked Americans are at Risk of Having Higher Blood Pressure.”  It appears that studies have shown that those who work between 41-50 hours a week are at greater risk of having high blood pressure than are those who work less than 40 hours. 

While this may come as somewhat of a surprise to most of us, I believe there is an even greater risk to working too many hours.  Not only is there a physical risk involved, as revealed in the study… but I believe that there is a spiritual risk as well.  It is a sad reflection of the society in which we live, but the more hours we work, the more prone we are to skip our spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible reading, and even meeting together with other believers for corporate worship. 

Don’t get me wrong… I understand that there are those who can handle a rigorous work schedule and still maintain these disciplines. Nevertheless, I also know that there are yet many others whose spiritual lives are suffering do to being overworked. The reasons may vary, but the potential outcome is the same–the fading of our spiritual fire and fervor in following the Lord Jesus Christ!

The author of Hebrews gives us this strong warning,

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25, NLT). 

Now let’s be honest with ourselves… how many people do you know that at one time were always in church, whenever the doors were open, and now  have not darkened the doorway of a church in weeks… months… even several years? The sobering truth is that church attendance is at an all-time low in American history (some estimate appx. 18% of the American population are in church on a given Sunday). If ever there were a time to be zealous in our church attendance, it is now!  We are living in a day and age in which we may very well see the Day of Jesus’ return to rapture the Church and escort us into our eternal reward. 

The question, then, is this: “Will He find you faithul… in your church attendance?”  Oh, I know it may be possible to go to church and not be a Christian, but is it possible to be a Christian and not go to church?  Whatever your answer may be, are you willing to “bank on it”?  I don’t know about you, but I’m not taking any chances…  Consider yourself encouraged… and warned.

Why not make the choice to assemble with God’s people somewhere this Sunday?