McStudly got into a pretty deep "philosophical" type conversation while we were laying in bed last night. It didn't last long, but afterwards I got to thinking. I usually have trouble falling asleep so I was thinking about this for a while, and then when I woke up this morning, all of those thoughts were still very clear in my head. It's been a few hours, now, but I'm going to try to put it all out there for you guys. I want to see what your thoughts are, your opinions, or if anyone even has anything to add at all.
In talking about all of this, let me start by saying I'm just as guilty as the next person. Anywhere that I say "we" or "you" it includes me... so don't think I'm being preachy. K?
How easy is it for us to put God in a box? Sometimes someone unknowingly helps us make our God-boxes by telling us their opinion as though it's fact, and then we take it for fact without looking into what the Bible says. We do this with friends, family, and even our Pastors. Just because you think someone has a better handle than you do, or a degree behind their name, that doesn't mean everything they say is truth. We shouldn't take it for fact and not look into it ourselves.
But that's not the point of all this. The point is the God-box itself. Some of you may be tuning me out already, but we all have one. We have our own neat little organized religion God-box that we tuck God into. It's made up of our interpretation of the Bible, our opinion of how a church service should go. Our view on what worship should be like. Our take on how we are to interact with each other - both Christians and non-Christians. That's what makes up our God-box.
And so we go to church on Sundays (or whenever we go) and we sit there. Like a consumer we're ready to take in a product, decide if it fits in with our God-box, and then review it later.
"Worship was kind've off today" or "We sing the same songs over and over again" and "I had a hard time connecting to the sermon today. It didn't really speak to me."
That's our God-box talking.
Worship needs to fit our expectations. The songs need to move us. The sermon needs to be what we're comfortable hearing and admitting to needing and it needs to speak to us in a way we haven't quite been spoken to before. Because it's a consumer, me, my way mentality.
But when we put worship in a box, when we put sermons and environments into a box, we're limiting it. And when we limit these things, we're limiting God. We limit God and then wonder where he is. We think he's not moving or he's not speaking to us... but it's not God that's not moving, it's us. We're limiting him and then expecting him to move in spite of our limits. By limiting God, we're limiting his effect on those around us. We are becoming the problem, while looking for someone or something else to point the finger at. We're missing it.
We also tend to limit God to church. That fits nicely into our God-boxes.
The worst part about our God-boxes is that by limiting God, we are limiting his ability to minister to others. God can do all thing, don't get me wrong, but he chooses to use us to minister to those around us. We each have our own sphere of influence and God has us there for a reason. No one, no single other person, can reach the people around you day-to-day in the way that you can. Often times these spheres of influence can overlap, but it all comes from different angles. You are the only one that can reach those people in the way that they need to hear it. But when we limit God, and keep him in our neat and tidy little God-boxes, we're the reason that's not happening.
But what if we opened that box and finally let God out? What if we stopped trying to fit worship into our box and just worshipped as we were meant to worship - freely and without shame, as we were created? What if we stopped getting caught up on what songs we were singing, or what the words of that song were? What if we asked God to speak to us in any sermon and bring something new to light no matter what the topic?
What if we let God be God and stop trying to do his job for him?
Just imagine - if we let God out of that box. If we focused on worshipping him instead of being comfortable in a song we'd reach entirely new levels of intimacy with him. Our love for him would be so much more than we could even imagine. What if we were so hungry for more of the word that even a sermon on a topic that far outreaches us still somehow speaks to us, where we are, and leads us to be even hungrier for the word in our day-to-day lives?
By letting God out of that little box that we created years ago, we're not longer limiting him to only be able to work when, where, and how we want him to. He'll finally be free to move in his good and perfect timing ad in the ways the he knows he needs to.
When God is able to move and we are worshipping him truly and whole-hearted, we will begin to exude him to those around us. And when we do so, he is finally able to minister to those people in our sphere of influence right where they need him and right where they are.
When God can finally meet people where they are, that's when things happen. That's when lives are restored and darkness flees. That's when we are able to breakthrough the things that tie us down. That is when we are finally fulfilling the purpose he's given each of us, all because we took a lid off a box.
So when your in worship and feeling like the band is off or singing a song you've heard a hundred times, remember why you're really there. When the sermon is about something that's so far off you're dazing in and out of consciousness, remember the reason for it all.
We're not here to critique a church service, we're hear to worship a loving, saving God. Whether or not that fits into your God-box should tell you something.
So when you hear the lyrics to a new worship song and you're stuck on the fact that it says "sloppy wet kiss" in one of the verses ("How He Loves" - great song. Look it up), remember that God doesn't fit into our little boxes.
Maybe we should stop trying to shove him in there all the time?