Godless Religion

Hi, everyone. It’s my honor to answer a question that came in this week that concerned the message on Sunday. If you’re with us, you heard us talking about the Godless religion matter from Isaiah, from the first and last chapter and also chapter 29. Anyway, a question came in and I found it really helpful. It was just simply focused on that whole matter of how do we stay focused?

The person said, I try to come in to worship focused and engaging my mind on our time of worship together. But then inevitably, there are distractions that hit me and it’s not so much what’s happening in the worship service itself, it’s just more related to, well, things come into my mind and that sort of thing. And so the question was, in essence, how can I be mindful when my mind tends to drift and move in a lot of different directions? I’m sure that we all identify with this. All of us have been there.

It’s not easy to stay focused for an hour or so, but it’s a worthy objective, isn’t it? And I think we saw that on Sunday, because in Isaiah 20 913, it tells us that if we draw near to God with our whole heart, that’s going to please and honor Him, it’s going to delight Him. And the last thing we want to do is just go through the motions and just be there and not be engaged with our minds. In fact, Jesus talked about worship when he, in John chapter four, was speaking to the woman at the well, and they got into a conversation about worship, and he said, you know, the Father seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. And so there’s a picture of worshipping with our heart and also worshipping with our mind in truth.

And so we need both, and I think to help us do that. There are a few things that we can do, but one of the things we can do before we even go is just begin to prepare our hearts for the time that we’re going to have together in worship. We don’t want to just go through the motions. And so if we even give some thought in advance to what we’re going to be doing, that could be helpful and come with that. Isaiah, chapter 66, verse two, mentality where we come with humility, seeking to know and to learn and to grow.

We come with contrition. Lord, I am not perfect. Please forgive me, change my heart. And then a sense of reverence, acknowledging who God is and an excitement about being in his presence. One of the ways that we can begin to prepare our hearts is just by preparing ourselves in advance, even before we get to the service, so that when we get there, here are a couple of ideas.

One, eliminate distractions. Do your best to turn off the phone if you can, and eliminate other distractions. But I think the biggest distraction, quite frankly, is the phone. And I think it oftentimes pulls us away from the time that we have to worship God. One of the things I would recommend is don’t use your Bible on your phone.

Inevitably, other things are going to pull your mind away. If you’re using the Bible on the phone, the Bible app on the phone, so bring along a Bible or bring along another source or whatever it might be. But one of the things that we can do to help us just stay focused is by eliminating distractions like that. And so I encourage you to consider that and then to engage your mind to just tell yourself, I’m going to focus. We do this in other areas, like in school, we know how to focus when we’re taking the exam.

We set aside other thoughts and other things and we say, I’m going to be here, and so be in this moment. Don’t let other moments interfere with this amazing moment that we have to worship God right now. So eliminate distractions, be in the moment or engage your mind. And then one of the other things we can do is just elevate the benefits. The benefits of focusing on God is, number one, we’re going to please Him.

We’re going to be transformed as we engage God, as we listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to us, as we listen to the word of God taught, and we’re focused on what is being taught when we sing, instead of singing without thinking, we’re thinking. And all of that is going to, first of all, ultimately express our love for God, but also it’s going to transform our hearts and our minds and so elevate the benefits. On Sunday, Bernice asked me if I could give her attention as we were driving in the car over to speak at Bridges. And I guess part of the reason why I was more than excited to do that was because of Sunday’s message focus, and I was able to engage my mind, to stay focused, to be in the moment with her. And what she said was very important, and it’s something that helped me this week.

All I want to say is I believe we can be there when we’re there, and God will help us do that. Let’s reach out to the Lord and ask Him to help us stay focused so that when we come together to worship, other things that could distract us aren’t going to distract us. And if they do distract us, it will be minimized and we can make some progress in this whole area of worship. So it’s not the perfection, it’s the direction. And ultimately, we want to draw close to God and see Him transform our hearts.

Well, may God continue to bless you and Bridges. Thanks for tuning in. Have a great day.