Home > Church, Faith > Are We Really Just Doing This For Us?

Are We Really Just Doing This For Us?

Amber and I were talking on the way home from church yesterday after hearing an impassioned and challenging sermon on desiring the presence of God in our lives. The text of the sermon was the account in 1 and 2 Samuel of the Ark’s capture by the Philistines, its subsequent and hasty return, and the efforts of David 70 years later to return it to the center of the city. The ark was moved four times during these events, with all but one of them leading to death and/or sickness.

The difference, it seems, was that the first three times the Ark was moved in whatever manner its transporters thought it should be, while on the fourth go round someone finally looked up how God intended for the ark to be transported and did it that way.

The question that Amber and I were rolling around in the car is this: Are we inviting God’s presence into our lives on our own terms or on His? In our (gradually returning) desire to get involved in the church we’re at, to take the initiative in new friendships, and to get involved in small groups and ministries – are we motivated primarily by what it does for us or are we genuinely looking for God to be at the center of our lives again?

To be honest, that sort of connection is something we’ve really missed the last three and a half years, and it would sure be a boon to our hearts and our self images to feel wanted and useful again in a faith community we respect. But we both agreed that soothing our bruised egos is no reason alone to join up with a ministry and reenter leadership. We don’t just want the stuff of church – we want God’s presence in our lives through our efforts of pouring out into these area, and we want to do it in a way that’s true to His call on our hearts.

Writing it out, it sounds like a straightforward enough distinction, and of course there’s nothing wrong with the benefits that community and ministry offer our lives – I really do believe God created us for these things and that like eating good food we get satisfaction in our souls from participating in them. But in our hearts it can be a bit trickier.

Take for example my recent return to worship leading. There’s something about the opportunity to lead and inspire others in worship that really makes me come alive, and that challenges and deepens my own expression of worship. On the other hand, there’s something about being on stage that can feel validating to my expression of worship (I certainly don’t worship in the same way when I’m not leading) and that can satisfy a sense of belonging as well – it’s a high profile role that tends to get me known and talked to (or about). Sorting through this has been an ongoing thing for me.

The bottom line for us has to lean toward action though. I’d rather be leading worship or investing in new relationships and struggling with maintaining pure motives than waiting for my motives to be pure before I get involved. May we have the wisdom to follow the true calling of God on our hearts and the faith to dive in.

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