Last Sunday I entered the church building only out of obedience. I was mad, bitter, frustrated, critical and expected nothing out of the service. The Longer I sat in the chair towards the back of the room, the more my list grew of things to find, “wrong.”
…the music is different than I like
…I don’t even know these songs
…how am I going to get through this until I can get back to MY church?
At some point I became so critical in spirit I began to stink because I could smell it (and girl you know you stink when you can smell it). As I sat in the chair (as close to the door as I could get to flee the moment church was over), the Lord chastened. “You are being so negative and critical you are going to affect someone else’s worship with me.”
“But, Lord . . . .who worships like this and how am I supposed to worship when I can’t understand a word they are singing and I don’t like these songs.”
“You are being so negative and critical you are going to affect someone else’s worship with me.”
I went home that Sunday afternoon and shared my critical spirit, frustration, and anger with the pastor at the church. I prayed my words would not be seen as offensive as I typed them. My goal was to be real and share my heart in hopes that God would change my heart because I knew we were/are supposed to be here/there, even if just for a season.
The Pastor replied and was gracious, and he agreed to pray that God would change my heart.
Six days later brings us to Saturday night.
The days prior to that were a living nightmare. Satan’s fiery darts had been coming and coming hard, so hard i wanted quit. So hard I was ready to walk away from us getting in a house and suffer through camper life forever, so I was already in a weakened state of mind, BUT God, in His infinite state would have the victory.
He quickened my spirit as I laid in bed that Saturday night and began verbalizing all the things I didn’t like about the church. I began making a “swooshing” motions with my hands (yes, I looked funny and rather ridiculous) and verbally saying out loud, “No. I am not going to be critical. I am not even going to go there. I am not receiving it. This week will be different.”
And it was – what had changed was nothing to do with the church –
but my heart.
I still struggled with the music, but as I stood there, I prayed. When that ole nasty critical self started back, I shut it up, quickly redirecting.
There was a genuine battle going on, one I wanted victory over because the last thing I ever want to do is hinder another person’s worship with the Lord. And then I heard God speak. “Have you even asked me if I can use you here? Maybe I have you here for a purpose.”
“Lord, I never even asked . . . can you use me here? Is there a reason you want me here? What do you want me to do, Lord?”
Now I don’t know if you see what I see, but hindsight is 20/20.
I see worship.
Not in the music, but in the intimacy.
Oh thank you, Father, that you would change an old bitter, angry heart. Thank you for loving me so much you chastened me to make me better, and for allowing me to see it. Thank you for wanting more for me than I could ever imagine. Amen.
As God was changing my heart, the sermon began. The readings were from Samuel and based on the life of David, “Making Loyal.” Now I am just gonna tell ya, I don’t know who else God intended that sermon to be for, but it was tailored for me.
“A lot of us need to quit being dissatisfied with where we are and just simply live for Christ right where we are. God is at work in the things that you think are small things.” was the first line in the pastor’s sermon notes . . . .
Do you see that?
God spoke to my heart about being used where He had me . . . and then the preacher spoke about it. (I have goosebumps!)
And then there is more . . . . much more, but at the end of his sermon the pastor spoke five more words that have “a-ha’d” me,
“Who was David without Goliath?”
As I repeat those words I am filled with tears and goosebumps.
I think of my own life from drugs, alcohol, adultery, hate, and thievery . . . and the friend battling depression and physical pain . . . and the friend whose child has broken her heart . . . and the friend who has experienced several miscarriages . . . and the friend who has tumor after tumor and surgery after surgery . . . a stranger who just lost their precious little girl . . . a woman walking through a painful divorce . . . . and the friend whose son was told would never have control of his body from neck down after a tragic accident last year but . . . . but God is using their Goliath’s so they can have a story to tell, to be used where only they can be used because it is their walk designed with a purpose . . . for them. For me.
At this point a few days ago, I tried separating this post in to two separate posts, and I lost everything, I couldn’t see where the two were really related . . . . but now I see it.
Ezekiel 36:26 says that the Lord will take your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Now, He did that for me almost seventeen years ago when He literally reached from heaven in to the pits of destruction and saved me, but He did it again this past Sunday as well, as He has many other times in areas of growth.
Whatever we are walking through, the battle is real, whether it is physical, mental, spiritual or a stinkin attitude . . . it’s real. How we approach it determines the outcome and it begins with the mind. II Corinthians 10:5 tell us to take our thoughts captive, but I want you to read it in the living translation beginning in verse 3 . . . “3 It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. 4 I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. 5 These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding him. With these weapons I can capture rebels and bring them back to God and change them into men whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ.”
I know the battle is real.
What you are walking through is hard. Painful. And lonely.
But you are not alone.
There are people who have walked before you and know exactly what it is you are carrying this very second. Find them. Ask God this very moment to bring someone in to your life to help you carry whatever it is you are carrying. He will do it.
Father, forgive us for missing you in the day-to-day. Quicken our spirits to prepare us for battle that we may take those thoughts captive in order to prevent infestation from taking place in our mind and in our heart. Use our Goliath’s for your glory. Amen.