I am working hard at developing our Ladies’ Class study on worship. My preparation focus today is developing a reminder of WHO we worship. I thought I’d begin a list of God’s attributes in an effort to understand WHO we proskuneo, to WHOM we ‘kiss toward’. All of this work is designed to grow us toward a more holy, acceptable worship that, through and because of Christ, satisfies our Heavenly Father.
The list will need to be a selected inventory—short and manageable for a 40 minute Sunday morning drink at the fountain of life. When I started the study, I knew I’d have to choose from the attributes of our amazing Father because the list would be nearly infinite. I couldn’t list everything that makes God worthy of worship, there are too many reasons. I knew this ahead of time. But now that I am here on the journey, how can I choose? How can I decided which characteristic of my amazing God is more or less worthy to meditate on? Is it His mercy or His love? Is it His artistry or His power? Is it His longing for us or His justice? I’ve started listing….and can’t stop! My poor Sisters—we could be spending the next years dwelling on the WHO of God and drawing closer to Him as we seek to understand Him better! That’s not a bad way to spend our time together, I think. In truth, it would take more than a lifetime to pursue this exploration of God’s amazingness.
My head and heart are spinning, and in the middle of it all, He stops me. In the midst of study, His Spirit reaches out and grabs my heart with a verse that convicts my soul. I have no idea why He selects this verse. Today, He seems to be asking me to dwell on this one thing. Tomorrow I can move around to a different angle and see what He reveals to me about Himself from another side. Apparently, I have something to learn here today:
Ephesians 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
God, OUR God, is a Holy Architect.
An architect is a deliberate designer, a planner, an artist. An architect designs buildings for a specific purpose, to satisfy the needs and desires of its occupant(s).
Not the ark any more, not the mercy seat. But me. Us. WE are where God dwells, lives, moves, stays. This truth always blows my mind. God’s dwelling place is not a place to where we go, but a body to which He comes.
An architect designs space and selects materials deliberately. God designs us with this singular purpose– that He will dwell with and abide in us, His place. HIS design is what satisfies He who dwells here.
Building materials are chosen to enhance the purpose of the space and to reflect the occupant. We are chosen, deliberately, ‘FOR a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.’ We don’t get to change the design, or reselect the materials, or redefine the purpose of this place, this structure. Our purpose has been chosen for us—to be part of what is ‘joined together’, in holiness (v. 21), to be a place of God.
How does this impact my worship, you might be asking? I should ask this. I am asking this.
*I am part of something bigger than myself, for God. (This is the Always Truth that He keeps laying before me.)
*I don’t get to choose who is also part of this dwelling place, He does.
*Materials are chosen for what they can contribute to the whole design. What is a fault or weakness in one piece is shored up and covered over by the strength of another. The whole design is made stronger by the unique attributes of each piece. Being JOINED TOGETHER (v. 21) is what makes it all work, and having a qualified craftsman putting it all together is paramount. I don’t even have to go there– God’s qualifications are indisputable.
*The purpose of my church family, both local and worldwide, is to satisfy HIS needs, desires and purposes— mine are secondary. I trust Him with mine and am confident in His promises to fulfill them, so much so, that I am determined to never focus on them again. (Philipians 4:19) The worldview seems to be to choose ‘church’ based on how it matches ones own needs, preferences, desires, satisfaction. This is contrary to the Design.
*Since God dwells among us, in this place He’s crafted, we had better make sure the ‘house’ is in order while we live and while we worship. And by ‘house’, He means heart–the heart of His church.
There’s more here, I know, there always is. For now, however, I am pondering how this can draw me, draw us closer in worship.
I challenge you to start your own list, and see where God stops you along the way. As well, I challenge you to worship and live a life of worship (Romans 12:1,2) with the Holy Architect in mind.
Meanwhile, enjoy the One with whom you abide.