Sunday, February 15, 2004

Ecclesiastes 5:1-2

Most Sundays I head off for church, hoping for a really good experience. And then most Sundays I find myself silently sitting in my chair with my legs crossed beneath me, praying for forgiveness for my lethargic spiritual life, while everyone around me dances with enthusiasm. I feel like everyone around me is thinking about how I don't know how to get excited about the Lord. I feel like everyone else in the room must be in such a great place spiritually. I even had a lady chastise me once for not getting up and dancing. "Why aren't you dancing? Don't you have every reason to give thanks to the Lord?!" They can dance and shout and sing and lift their hands. I usually can't get through the first song without finding lyrics that I know aren't true about my life.

For example, this morning we sang the words "We turn our eyes from evil things, Oh Lord we cast down our idols" and "Let us not lift our souls to another". That was in the first song. I couldn't get past it. I couldn't sing those words without being totally convicted. I sat right back down and put my face in my hands and started praying. That lasted through the rest of the singing time. Meanwhile, as I was confessing what a creep I am to Christ, everyone else it seemed was full of radiant joy. Days like this make me feel like crap.

But I read something tonight. I found myself in Ecclesiastes, somewhere I've not been since I became a Christian. I read it through in high school, but I don't believe I've even thought of that book in the whole three and a half years I've been saved. In Chapter 5 the writer warns us to "Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know what they do wrong." Whoa, I thought. Go near to listen. Walk carefully. I read on. "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few."

I think you see where I'm going with this. I realized tonight that that's what God desires of us when we come before Him. He doesn't want us to be quick to speak. He doesn't want the sacrifice of foolish chatter. He wants us to be sober before Him so we aren't fools who do not know what we do wrong. If I realize I cannot honestly say to God that I have no other idols before Him, I shouldn't say so. Once I've realized that about myself, it is time to get down on my face and start some repenting.

It's very sweet how God encourages us. He knows how I feel, how it seems like everyone else is so much more spiritual than me, while I can't even uphold the Ten Commandments. So He kindly directed me to a place that says, "My child, you're doing what you ought to be doing. You're a good kid, you know that?"

Thanks, Dad.

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