Worship of God Should Change Lifestyle:

As Von Goethe once said,

The past is valuable as a guidepost, but dangerous if used as a hitching post.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832))

I feel as modern Apostolics or Pentecostals our usage of history is to serve as a guidepost. A guidepost indicates to us the decline of culture that is rapidly become destitute of God by their own actions. The connection cannot be denied. We should look at historical events and trends and measure our responses according to the Word of God.

I believe though that some misunderstand a very simple premise of Christianity, or of simply being a follower of God. It is clear that worship to any god or gods will affect lifestyle. The result of worship to pagan gods such as Molech, Ashtoreth, or Diana was always in accordance with the nature or concept of that god.

Molech demanded brutal sacrifice of children; therefore, his worshippers emulated that trait. Ashtoreth was a goddess of the moon, sexuality, sensual love, and fertility. Therefore her worshipers emulated erotic and illegitimate lifestyles. In these times, their priests were male eunuchs dressed in women’s clothing.[1] Diana was a goddess that archaeological statues indicate was an impersonator of the reproductive powers of men and of animals and of all other life, therefore her worshipers, mainly women, indulged themselves in the most base of sexual perversions.

Therefore our concept of the true God and His nature should be emulated and imitated by and through His true worshipers. This is not a divisive issue until we realize that our emulation of God and HIS Holiness should have an affect upon our lifestyles and dress code. To say otherwise is negligence or willful ignorance.

The nature of God is that He is holy. He does not just have holiness or love, but He is holy and He is love. This very reason is what Peter may have been thinking when he penned:
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:13-16 NKJV)
I really feel, when we look close we can find that our God really asks for simple sacrifices, or simple acts of worship, in relation to the demands of the gods of this world. The vices of jealousy, arrogance, pride, avarice, rebellion, and etc. are gods in their own making, or they indeed have become gods unto us. Each time we kneel to their cruel manipulations, we are kneeling in worship.

Let me clarify something here. When I refer to the term "worship" however I am not referring only to what, in Pentecostal praxis, the service leader is seeking from our believers during worship services.

I believe, from the point of syntax, that worship and praise are distinct from each other. I believe worship has a meaning more broad whereas praise may be more restrictive in meaning. For example, praise is worship but praise is not all that worship is. Worship can be anything from a lifestyle, dancing and praising God, sacrifice unto God, etc, etc. Praise does not define worship yet is part of worship, as worship does not define praise but praise is part of worship. I believe they interrelate. I believe, typically praise relates to physical or emotional demonstrations. I believe these particular aspects deal greatly with our pride and thankfulness to a God we are eternally indebted to despite our acknowledgments. He does, however, desire them.

It is difficult then to separate worship from relationship, for it is cause and effect. We do not merely do worship, but we are worshipers.

We worship God with our minds. With our actions and conduct. With how we treat others, and go about our lives. As Christians we are distinct from and against the world. We are to be the light. The darkness is our enemy, which darkness is really only the absence of light. There is not a day, that should go by at least, where we can say we are not worshipers of the Almighty.

From the standpoint of practical application of holiness. Let me say first, I am just a lover of the Scriptures and theology, my experience as a pastor is limited though. I have been a teacher more than anything most of my ministry. I have found merit though to the idea that teaching the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in relationship to our holiness teachings is, not to be redundant, fruitful. I think the Scriptures will bear this out as well. I see the fruit of the Holy Spirit as a necessary platform for which we demonstrate or appropriate holiness. Holiness of our mind as well as our body, it is after all the temple of the Holy Spirit.

For example, the first three listed in Galatians 5 are love; joy; peace. These each concern our attitude toward God. The very next three deal with our relationships, our interpersonality (patience; kindness; goodness). The next three deal with our conduct as believers (faithfulness; gentleness; self-control). Indeed the fruit of the Spirit then is how we can "be" holy. God is greatly concerned with our holiness inwardly, but He also expects us to let man see Christ in us, the hope of glory. Something that sets us aside (separate) from the rest of the world in how we speak, act, and yes how we even dress--as vessels dedicated for His service.

[1] McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved

1 comment:

brian said...

Beautiful brother. Just beautiful.

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)