Worship is an essential element of an abiding Christian’s life. The Gospel song (“My Worship is For Real”, Bishop Larry Trotter, post) which helped inspire this Our Stories, Our Praise, Our Worship Series leaves no doubt about the types of worship which can be practiced.
You don’t know my Story, all the things that I’ve been through.
You can’t feel my Pain, what I had to go through to get here.
You’ll never understand my Praise, don’t try to figure it out,
Because my Worship is for real.
Real Worship isn’t the same as hollow, ‘unreal’ Worship. This post, and the Series post which follows it (6 Potent Pillars of ‘Real’ Christian Living), will lay the groundwork for worshiping God ‘in spirit and in truth’. In this Worship post today, I will explore the 3 key Tenets of Christian living and worship. Such living involves being a:
- Sanctified Christian
- Empowered Kingdom-seeker
- Transformed Disciple
- They aren’t simply content to publicly announce they are Saved, and not walk much further! They aren’t, when they go to church on Sunday, seeking only to be entertained and to hear ‘happy talk’ Sermons. They aren’t merely conformed churchgoers, who, once informed, never change ‘on the inside’.
A faithful, Kingdom-seeking Christian is Sanctified, Empowered, and Transformed. Their Walk and Worship is for real! The three (3) Spiritual Qualities which define such Christians will be covered in this Series post.
A Real Worshiper has a Spiritual dimension which, over time, becomes stronger and more robust. These Christians don’t just ‘talk the talk’, they ‘walk the walk’ too! A Sanctified Christian demonstrates regular, continuous Spiritual Growth. Sanctification, it’s important to note, occurs in stages – not in a single, simple step. No one starts their walk, accepts Jesus as their Savior, and in a ‘single day of walking’ becomes a truly Heaven-bound, Sanctified Christian! To put it plainly, Fast Faith isn’t an option. Anyone hoping for a quick, easy sprint down the Path will be disappointed.
God wants all his saved children to grow spiritually though out their lives. He doesn’t want them to start their Walk . . . and then get Spiritually Stuck along the way. Are you prepared for a character-building, faith-testing Marathon? As scripture tells us, the rewards, earthly and eternal, will be worth it! Can I look forward to seeing you at the Finish Line?
John MacArthur on Sanctification
What is sanctification? John MacArthur’s “The Steps of Biblical Sanctification” (link) answers this question very well I feel. He states that the process of sanctification involves 3 steps, namely:
On Cognition, MacArthur states:
God’s pattern for spiritual growth starts with understanding what the Bible says and what it means. . . . True sanctification begins with renewing your mind. You must know the truth, plain and simple. There’s no premium on ignorance in sanctification . . . Spiritual growth won’t happen by osmosis—it requires the discipline of constantly putting God’s truth in your mind . . . any methods or patterns for spiritual growth that don’t start with the study of God’s truth cannot lead you to true sanctification.
On Conviction, MacArthur states:
As you grow in your understanding of the Bible, you begin to develop convictions out of that understanding. Those convictions or beliefs determine how you live, or at least how you endeavor to live. As God’s truth takes over your mind, it produces principles that you do not desire to violate. That’s sanctification—it’s the transformation of your heart and your will that compels you to obey God’s Word.
When you read the Bible, you’re not just trying to know it academically. You’re studying the Word of God to develop a set of convictions that rule your life, inform your conscience, and guide you toward greater Christlikeness.
On the third and final sanctification step, Affection, MacArthur states:
Throughout Scripture we see over and over that God’s people truly love His truth . . . Loving God’s Word is an inescapable theme throughout the psalms, and it’s an attitude that will be reflected in the process of our sanctification.
If you’re truly growing spiritually, you don’t read the Bible as mere education. You don’t read it as a curiosity meant simply for intellectual stimulation. You don’t study it just to win an argument. You don’t approach it casually or carelessly, and you don’t flippantly disregard its truth.
If you’re truly growing, you come to Scripture eager for the spiritual nourishment it alone provides.
MacArthur’s piece on the steps needed to achieve sanctification is poignant and powerful. As he states in the 2012 Grace to You piece:
How do you know if the living truth of Scripture is actually at work in your life? How do you know that God’s Word has actually taken root in your life?
The 3 words that capture the spiritual process of sanctification, as he sees it, will help you answer the two questions MacArthur poses.
- For those who choose to go beyond just declaring themselves a child of God, John MacArthur feels that Cognition begets Conviction, and Conviction begets Affection.
- Christians who take all three steps can say that they are fully sanctified. They can say that God’s word has ‘taken root in their life’ and has led to a Transformed, God-pleasing mind.
SCRIPTURE for Christians who choose not to get Spiritually Stuck, but to be Sanctified.
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2: 2-3 (NIV)
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. Psalm 19: 7 – 10 (NIV)
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17: 24 – 25,28 (NIV)
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