Whatever It Takes

This blog entry has already proven itself difficult as I have written four different opening paragraphs only to restart each time.  What’s interesting is that I knew that the title was going to be what it is before I even started writing this.  I have been mulling over for a couple weeks now how I feel it best to say what it is I need to say.  This isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  So I am definitely trusting the Holy Spirit with this.

Whether if you have read any of my previous posts, or know me personally, you would know that I am a Christian.  I love Jesus.  Above all things, I want to know Him personally, walk with Him intimately, and I want to do His will.  Lately, I have been in a weird phase in my life with the Lord, but make no mistake, it has been very good.  There has been a calmness to this new season that has left me without any doubt that it is God.  “Relax” has been a word that has been resounding in my spirit for months.  God knows exactly what I need, and if He says to “relax”, what am I going to do? Relax, of course…  or at least I’m gonna try.

In our American culture, we are programmed to “do, do, do”, and our worth/value directly correlates to our performance.  Furthermore, our candidacy for promotion tends to be founded upon merit, behavior, and actions.  I know I might be making that last statement sound like a bad thing, which I know isn’t always the case, but in the scope of our faith, it tends to breed competitiveness, pride, and arrogance which are all inherently bad.  Basically, what we do trumps who we are.  Am I saying that promotion, accomplishment, and all the other related things are bad?  No.  At least not when there is proper balance with it all.  What I will emphatically say is bad and a fallacy is when identities are founded upon what a person’s merits and accomplishments are.  That may not necessarily be what is directly taught, but I assure you, subliminally this lifestyle is EVERYWHERE and it is steadily woven into our personalities as we grow up.  Growing up in the church is no exception and can actually be worse.  So ultimately, going back to what the Lord has been saying to me (relax), it really can be somewhat difficult to do because of the culture I’ve grown up in.

In my junior year of high school, I was a bass player for a local band.  It was a blast and I enjoyed my time in it.  During summer camp with my church that year, the Lord spoke to me and encouraged me to quit the band because He was going to use me in praise and worship.  I was obedient immediately and met with the guys in my band as soon as I got back from camp.  I had no further direction other than Him mentioning he was going to put me in praise and worship.  As I analyzed and meditated on it all, I obviously grew very curious as to how God was going to work His plan for me.  It didn’t seem like the opportunity was there for me at the current church I was at, but I trusted His word nonetheless.  After graduating, I was still left wondering when this would all take place.  Well, that year at the same camp the Lord spoke to me about praise and worship, and I met the cool kids of “On Fire Youth” from Agape Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.  It was an instant, and I mean INSTANT, connection.  I hung out with them all week and ended up learning that they needed a bass player for their worship team.  Hmmm… uncoincidentally, I was a bass player at that time.  God made it clear.  I started with playing bass in the youth band to leading songs.  Then from leading worship in the youth band to leading in main services.  I have been doing it for fifteen years now, minus a two-year sabbatical.

At the turn of the year, I had purposed to fast and spend time in prayer regarding my and my family’s future.  As the months have passed, it has become apparent that for me a season of rest is at hand.  Again, this “relax” word keeps popping up in my spirit over and over.  When I prayed to the Lord for more of a desire for Him… “relax”.  When I am desperate to know what our future holds… “relax”.  When I want so badly to flow in the gifts and do His work… “relax”.  When I want to please Him… “relax”.  When I am displeased with myself for not getting up and praying or reading the Word… “relax”.  Relax, relax, relax.

As I am typing this, the Lord is speaking to me saying, “Sometimes the best and most perfect and pleasing action is to just be still and know that I am God.”  I believe some of you reading this needed to hear that.

How perfect is our God?  How satisfied are you in just knowing Him?  How confident are you that even in doing nothing you are still pleasing to Him?  Why do you feel it is appropriate to beg God for things when He knows your heart better than you will ever know it?  Don’t you know that to trust Him with your whole heart means to trust that He will finish His good work in you?  Don’t you know that He knows what is best for you in every facet of your life?  Can’t you see that your striving is resistance to Him?  Quit looking at what others are doing for Him and believing that they must just be in a better place with the Lord. Maybe they are, or maybe they’re far from Him and are just trying to vainly make up for by their deeds.  Remember John the beloved?  Remember how Peter was insecure about John’s relationship with the Lord?  Remember when Jesus corrected Peter about that?  Jesus doesn’t compare your accomplishments with others, so why you do you do that to yourself?  Jesus desires a PERSONAL relationship with every person.  Let us rejoice that our walks are unique and different rather than harboring envy and jealousy.  Our identity in Him is what matters most.

Just about a month ago, the Lord prompted me to step away from praise and worship, and this past Sunday (June 9, 2019) was my last service on the team.  This prompting wasn’t necessarily a surprise to me, nor my wife when I told her because we both had been feeling a change was coming.  Do I know what the next step is? No. And honestly, I don’t care what the next step is.  I have obsessed over the next step for most of my life rather than just taking in all that this present step has to offer.  Does this mean I am never going to do praise and worship again?  I highly doubt that because the gifts are without repentance.  Whatever the future holds, it will still be there when I get there.  I am willing to do whatever it takes to promote the Lord working in my heart.  If that means I have to sit on the bench for awhile I’m good with that.  I truly believe the Lord is rewiring my heart to understand that my gift in worship is not my identity.  Whether or not I sing or play another note is irrelevant.  What is relevant is how I identify with Christ aside from anything I do for Him.

Though I may not see the full picture, I know He does.  I don’t have to understand to obey.

My reason for sharing all this is to testify that God is the Promise Keeper in this covenant relationship.  My only burden in this relationship is to trust that He will do with my heart what He says He will do.

– From Death To Life