Saturday, February 19, 2011

In A Dry And Weary Land

I woke up this morning with an overwhelming desire to be in the presence of the Lord. It seems there are times when we feel we need Jesus more than other times. Perhaps we are feeling lost or lonely, maybe we are facing difficult situations, maybe we are afraid of something or perhaps we are just struck by the beauty of his love. Whatever the reason there are times when the need to worship and rejoice explodes within us:

O God, you are my God, 
earnestly I seek you; 
my soul thirsts for you, 
my body longs for you, 
in a dry and weary land 
where there is no water.  (Psalm 63:1)

We should gladly admit that there is nothing in this world that is able to satisfy our thirst. There are lots of substitutes but nothing is able to reach into the driest, thirstiest areas of our soul. Compared to Jesus, the world is a desert, empty, with nothing to offer but death. When you spend too much time in this place without acknowledging the presence and love of Jesus, you can become very dry and thirsty yourself, to the point that your spirit is desperately calling out for the rich fellowship of the Holy Spirit. This is especially true of those who have enjoyed a great relationship in the past but have somehow allowed themselves to dry out:

I have seen you in the sanctuary 
and beheld your power and your glory. 
Because your love is better than life, 
my lips will glorify you. 
I will praise you as long as I live, 
and in your name I will lift up my hands. 
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.  (Psalm 63:2-5)

As you read the words of the psalmist can you feel the flame ignite within you, to be possessed like this again, to know this satisfaction? I sometimes wonder how many of us have had the privilege of experiencing that Jesus' love is better than life and where our praise is provoked by this love and not because of other reasons. This love is suppose to be our motivator for everything we do. Not that we say, "Oh, I guess I need to do good things because Jesus loves me", but instead a longing, a desperation to respond to his love with love, for him and everyone we know. As the Apostle Paul explained, it was because of this love that he felt compelled to do what he did. Compelled is a strong word. Am I compelled today? What is the motivation of our praise and worship? What is our motivation for service?

Perhaps we have no motivation. Perhaps we are warn out in this dry and thirsty land? Have we become weary? Have we allowed ourselves to lose the source of our motivation? Are we waking up today with a longing in our body to be with Jesus, to fellowship with him, to worship and glorify him, to serve him with all that we are? Are we beginning to realize that we are missing something?

On my bed I remember you; 
I think of you through the watches of the night. 
Because you are my help, 
I sing in the shadow of your wings. 
My soul clings to you; 
your right hand upholds me.  (Psalm 63:6-8)

This is what we really need, to understand that he is the source of everything for us. He is our strength, our hope, the one we cling to, the one we fix our eyes on. If our world does not revolve around him then we do not understand who he is to us. If Jesus is not always on your mind and in your heart then you do not understand what he has done for you. It is never about what you can do for Jesus because you can't do anything for him; it is all about what he has done and what he is doing for you. What we do is only a response, a compelling, a big thank you in appreciation for his acts of love. Our actions are only a fruit of what his love has grown in us. I think of him throughout the night. I sing to him as I seek his protection from all harm. I cling to him as he holds me tight. This is what it is to love Jesus, a response to his love. The Apostle John said that we love him only because he first loved us.

I pray this is your experience today. I pray that if your love has grown tired and weak that he will revive you by a reminder of his love. I pray that if this world is starting to get you down and you are questioning everything you have ever known, that you will experience his loving embrace today and his Spirit will ignite the flame in you again. If you have the spiritual blues today the best thing you can do is worship Jesus for what you know he has already done for you. Then seek out his promises in the Word. After that pour out your heart to him and then return to worship. Set aside a good chunk of time today to "earnestly seek" him. Get really thirsty for God and be prepared to be amazed at how he will respond to you.

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