Wednesday, July 17, 2013

when passion steals His glory

The kids with our youth pastor, his wife, and daughter.
Last week, I had the opportunity to spend three days chaperoning kids from our church at a youth conference in Philadelphia. The first session was on Thursday evening, and I knew within minutes of the start of the first worship song, it was going to be an amazing experience - not just for the youth, but for me.

The current of the room was palpable. Teenage boys lifted their hands freely to worship, defying the typical testosterone-filled youngster's drive to be viewed as cool and macho. The music spoke to kids of both genders as well as the adults. It made me think of the bible verse about worshiping in spirit and in truth. Those kids worshiped in spirit and in truth. Then a guy got up to speak to them. And they opened their bibles, and they took notes in journals. They looked excited and hungry for what God had for them. I was excited. I lifted my hands to worship. I was moved by the music and the teaching.

Then there was a little time between sessions for dinner.

Enter Facebook.

The kids weren't allowed to have their various electronic devices except to take pictures, and I hadn't planned on getting mine out either. But I just. had. to check on one. thing...

I got distracted by a blog post one of my friends linked to. It had a title that caught my eye. The subject was something I'm passionate about. I decided to just read it really quickly.

Enter indignation.

The blog post was all wrong. It offended me on so many levels. The information was wrong, the assertions were wrong, the conclusions were wrong. The way in which the author ranted on in her misinformation was wrong. And, of course, me being me, I had to tell my friend just what I thought of it. So I spent a good ten minutes writing a comment. Ten minutes I could have been talking to a teen, praying with someone, or fellowshipping. But my passion for this subject, combined with a lack of self-control when it comes to trying to fix the ignorance of other people, distracted me from what was Right.

I wasn't wrong in the comment I made. It was even based on Christian principles. I was right, but I wasn't Right. There's a time and a place. That wasn't it. And the full weight of that truth hit me when we went to the next session and worship started again. The prior session, my whole being was wrapped up in that worship. This time, though, I was focused on something else. Things I could have added to my comment. Things I could have said better. Lots of thoughts about "ignorant" people. Oh yeah, evil was having a field day in my mind. I spent the next couple songs praying that I could forget about all that and reclaim my devotion.

Enter Love.

God is faithful. His love never fails, even when I get distracted and fail to glorify Him as I should. Having recognized my error and repented, it wasn't long before the whole subject faded into the recesses of my mind.

The rest of the time was incredible. I watched God move in the hearts of all the kids we took, and kids from every other youth group there. And I felt His Spirit move in me. One thing that was spoken to me very clearly is that my passions, even when honorable on their face, become dishonorable and sinful when they usurp the glory that belongs to God.

"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” ~John 4:23-24

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe there are no other comments. I absolutely LOVED this. I regret that I don't read your blog more often.



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