A Sip of the Ocean

Which comes first worship or the object of worship?

God is beautiful and that beauty is transcendent. Webster defines transcendent as: being beyond the limits of all possible experience or knowledge. Simply put, it is impossible to know all of God; and because of His nature it’s impossible to know Him at all unless He reveals Himself to us. And further, no matter how much he reveals there is an infinite amount more that is possible to discover.

When God reveals His beauty to us, we catch a glimpse of His nature, but it’s just that: a glimpse.

Think of the creatures that circle the throne (as depicted in Rev. 4), as far as we know, they are creatures with most worship experience. They’re before God day and night and they’re covered in lid-less eyes for gazing at the One seated on the throne. The being with the most knowledge on the beauty of God doesn’t even really know a measurable part of it. Why? Because God is infinite. Not just in His expanse and existence but, in this case, His beauty.

Think of how large the oceans of our planet are. Estimates are that 36,614,237,300,000,000,000,000 gallons of water fill the oceans, lakes, streams, and rivers on the earth. Let’s say that the water on the planet is the beauty of God. We can take sip of water, drink a gallon or 2 during 1 day, over our lifetime we can drink thousands, if not millions of gallons of water. But what is a million gallons compared to the number above? It is incredibly negligible.

Here’s where the analogy breaks down: there is no measurable number or amount to attribute the beauty of God’s nature. Even if our entire solar system and the galaxies of the universe were comprised of water it would still be measurable. God’s beauty is immeasurable.

When our hearts encounter the beauty of God revealed at that magnitude it produces something in heart of human beings, worship. Worship is a response to beauty. We don’t start with worship and hope we end up seeing beauty. Rather, we start with beauty to bring forth worship. True beauty will produce pure worship. Those that worship God most perfectly are the ones who see Him most clearly.

Faith – Eyes Open or Closed?

Man was made for the ground. Why else to do we feel nauseous when we go zipping around in our uncle’s boat? We have feet not flippers; arms not wings; lungs not gills. We jump and expect to feel the jarring impact shoot up through our knees. We lay on the grass, avoid excessive air-travel, and kiss the ground when we get home.

I wince when I travel.

Ground is our home. It makes us feel secure. Ground comforts us, exemplified by the sighs of relief when an airline touches down; or when we come down the ladder propped on the side of the house. Solid equals condolence. Man was made for earth and earth for man. The two are joined. They are twins from the same parents but you can’t tell in a crowd.

What did Adam feel the first time he stood up from his dusty womb?

The issue of faith is an issue of truth. An issue of reality. Faith can’t be faked, just as truth can’t be faked. Either something is true or untrue; fabricated or evident. While the false may parade as the true, somewhere, somehow, we believe that there is a reckoning. Some gavel must slam down and the curtain must drop, and when it does we will all gasp.

I’d guess there are more agricultural major graduates than philosophy major graduates.

Faith. Ask anyone on the street about faith and I’d bet they’d give you some answer along the lines of religion, or an eyes-closed-leap, or country music. Humanity wants evidence to have faith. Is this real? Prove it.

What if I told you you’re walking on air? Ushers have bags for the sick. What is faith? We imagine that faith steps off the cliff and walks on gases. I beg to differ.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb. 11:1

Invisible stuff right? Intangible. Read it again. This time time take off your glasses, your prescription renewal is overdue.

Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen.

Makes you wonder. Imagine the man plunging brashly off the cliff was actually plunging onto it the whole time. He floated around in gas until he stepped onto the precipice. Truth is solid. No one who has been to the moon debates the existence of it. No one thinks of faith as substance and evidence, but look for substance and evidence to substantiate faith.

We might have had it backwards.

Christ Revealed the Father – Jn. 15:9-11

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you, abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Jn 15:9-11

I want to take a brief look at 3 points on what Christ revealed about the Father from this passage.

1.) Christ revealed the Father’s love by loving His disciples the way that the Father loved Him.

When the Word became flesh and dwelt among humanity He was commissioned by the Father to reveal all that He desired humanity to know about Himself. Jesus is the image of the invisible God. His character, thoughts, words and deeds show the exact nature of the Father. The Father has deep and profound love for the Son; they share a relationship that would have otherwise been unknown to mankind. Yet, Christ came and invited humanity into the Triune expression of love and affection. This “same” love that the Father has and expresses towards the Son is the “same” love with which Christ has loved us. God wanted us to know how He loved us by loving us through His Son. He also wanted us to know how much He loved His Son by expressing that love through His Son to us.

2.) To experience this love, Jesus tells us that we must keep His commandments.

Love for God is expressed through the guarding of the commands of the Lord. Keeping His word will cause us to “abide” in the love of God. The commandments of the Lord are unto love not duty. For example, the man that loves his wife earnestly upholds the covenant of marriage that he made with her. Upholding the covenant doesn’t diminish love in dullness (religion) but rather inflames love causing it to grow.

The love of God is freely given, it is a tower of refuge; there is no lock on the door and anyone can come in, but to REMAIN inside of that tower, to truly dwell in that tower, we must keep His commands. Anyone can make a covenant of marriage in declaration of love, but to remain in the covenant of marriage the man (or woman) works to not break that covenant.

Grace is given to keep His commands when we understand the Father’s love and affection through revelation. If we don’t understand the war that rages outside the dwelling of the Lord’s love, we will not understand the nature of abiding in God’s love and treat it cheaply. Cheap love leads to weak faith, which ultimately ends in no love. Weak faith puts us outside of the tower of Christ’s affection and makes us subject to the fiery darts of the evil one.

3.) The full expression of joy and enduring pleasure in this life comes from keeping God’s commandments.

God wants us to experience pleasure, yet He wants us to do it in a way that honors Him, ourselves and others. There is a God-intended way to experience pleasure – the greatest pleasure is the affection of His heart. It the the pleasure that God has within the God-head. Father, Son and Holy Spirit share inexpressible joy in and of themselves. We experience that pleasure by living in their love, and we remain in that love through keeping God’s commands. The most exhilarating experience that humanity can have on this side of eternity is an ongoing reception of the love of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

May you be blessed and enriched by the power of the Holy Spirit.