Clarice James

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My Faith: Once Loose and Sloppy Now Strong and Firm

worshipI pulled an old devotional book off the shelf that I’d devoured years ago: Every Day Light: Treasure for the Heart by the late Selwyn Hughes.  I did not expect to be wowed again. I was wrong.  The lines I had not underlined originally are now underlined; the ones that were, are now starred. The quote below struck me on a day when I thought my daily walk had become “loose and sloppy.”

“How do we get the framework, the sense of structure we need to be able to move effectively from one day to another, in a world where everything that seemed to be nailed down is coming apart? What is the coordinating point that pulls together our confused thoughts and feelings as we look out at the comedy we call a civilization? It is to be found in our worship of God. We enter into the presence of the Lord and lo, His unity becomes our unity. Things that were once loose and sloppy become strong and firm. Worship helps us get our heads together. It helps us know where we stand.” From Every Day Light: Treasure for the Heart, Selwyn Hughes, Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, TN 1973.

Often, I try to make things more difficult and complex than they are. To be told that simple worship could change my walk back to “strong and firm” was a welcome message. And I didn’t have to wait until I felt like worshipping; I just had to do it. Hughes tells us we should be glad that God has given us a command to worship Him “for if we are not [glad], we would be left to the vagaries of our feelings.” Feelings are fickle; God’s statutes are not. (If you’re questioning that, just read Deuteronomy 5.)

In this context, when I speak of worship, I mean those times when I abandon my busyness and give all my attention to Him. When I let down my guard and lift up my voice (and my hands) in praise. When I open my heart and close the world out. When I turn up the volume and sing a song of adoration. Honest worship, true worship, without pretense. The kind that God craves.

Eugene Peterson puts it this way: “Worship is an act which develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God which is expressed in an act of worship.”

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