As I write this the holidays are upon us in full force. In addition to the normal busy-ness of life, now is the season of additional strain including money needed for presents and travel, events involving work and family, food to prepare, and so much more.
Many feel like a slogan I saw on a t-shirt: "I'm going to use what little energy I have today to breathe, and maybe blink. That's about it."
Or maybe this: "I'm not an early bird or night owl; I'm some form of permanently exhausted pigeon."
In II Corinthians 1: 8 Paul said he and his traveling companions went through a time they were 'pressed so heavy it was beyond our ability'; the idea communicated was they felt like olives under such pressure that oil flowed out.
I think we can all relate to that - our very life being squeezed out of us. But what can we do to refill, recharge, and regain enthusiasm once again? Is it just a matter of letting this season pass and then we can recharge?
Paul told the Ephesians in a startling example of opposites, "Don't be drunk (saturated) with wine to excess, but be filled (fully completed) by being filled with the Spirit..." (5: 18)
He does not use the same words to list these opposites. The word drunk means to saturate. The word 'filled' in the phrase 'filled with the Spirit' means 'to be made full and complete'. Filled....complete...with the Holy Spirit. How to do that? His very next words are:
"Speaking to yourselves with Psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, making melody in your heart to the Lord."
A Psalm in Paul's time was a sung poem (lyrics) accompanied by stringed instrument(s), a hymn was sung without instrument (a cappella), and a spiritual song is one out of your heart to the Lord.
In the phrase 'making melody in your heart to the Lord', the word 'melody' is 'psallontes', and you can see the word Psalm in the first part of that word. Paul is therefore literally saying to 'pluck your heart strings in a song from you to Him'. That's how to be filled with the Spirit, and that filling helps us in times of stress and holiday pressures.
Remember too the word for 'worship' as used in John 4: 23 where Jesus reveals the Father seeks people to worship Him in spirit (from the heart) and truth (not worshipping with an ulterior motive), is 'proskuneo', literally, 'to kiss towards'. The Father is seeking 'kisses', covenant kisses given from our spirit with nothing else on our agenda than to express love to Him.
Spiritual songs can be a sung prophecy, divinely inspired and we see that very often in house church meetings. It can also be just you and the Lord, you pouring forth from your heart all the love and thankfulness you have towards Him, using your words out of your heart rather than someone else's words set to music - it is the music of your heart strings to Him.
The question today is this:
Have you developed personal worship? I'll ask another way: If the church where you go suddenly didn't have a worship band and leader, and the pastor asked the congregation to stand and worship - would you immediately raise your hands and start worshipping, able to block everything out to pour forth of your heart in love to the Lord?
Can you pluck your own heart strings to worship Him? If the answer is no, then develop the practice of addressing the Father in your own words how you feel, how grateful you are to know Him, how if you weren't born again you'd be at the least a miserable human being, and possibly dead or in prison - find your own words and express that to Him in word and song.
A friend who with her husband led a house church once complained to the Lord, telling Him, "I miss the worship of the traditional church". In a shock to her, He responded immediately: "You don't miss the worship, you miss the music, for worship flows from your heart out of your intimacy with Me."
Many Christians never develop personal worship in the first place, yet Jesus said the Father seeks those who will worship Him in spirit (purity of heart) and truth (no hidden motives in your worship).
But you can actually have those times while going about the business of life.
Conversational thanks and fellowship
One of the things I've done since my teen years was to include the Father in everything I do in a running conversation. Even if a busy day means I have to break away to attend to things for hours at a time, I often pick up right where I left off. In that way I found I do the do's so I didn't have time to do the don't's, if that makes sense. As soon as I open my eyes to the morning light I start by thanking Him or complimenting Him on a beautiful morning...and I go from there, even now after all these years.
I will often ask upon hearing an opinion from someone, "What do you think Father?" or if it pertains to the body of Christ, "Do you have a thought about that Lord?" - I'm always asking for the opinion of the Father on things, and then I shift my attention to my spirit man to see if I get a grievance, or a neutral (no opinion, no comment), or sometimes I hear directly His words.
I look for 'God-incidences', coincidences I know are from Him, a 'wink', a clue that He is there and oversees my steps. From all this flows worship, thanks, gratefulness, always...even when major things are going on. I find something, anything, to be thankful for and in.
When we turn our attention off self and all the activity of life onto Him, even in short shifts of attention to offer a quick 'Thanks Father', we find He pours into our spirit a rest and energy that keeps us fueled up and going strong. Next week, a supernatural way to regain physical strength...
Until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org