Contending For Worship

“Whole-hearted praise
and worship in spirit and in truth will always require forceful men and women to contend together!   In so doing we lay hold of that aspect of
the Kingdom!”

I felt I had to write and urge you to
contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
(Jude 3) 

Jude appealed to the
believers to ‘contend’ for the faith. In this context the amplified Bible
says the ‘faith’ is ‘the sum of Christian belief’. Whatever stimulated Jude to
write this caused him to passionately appeal to believers to develop a forceful
attitude, to contend for all things they believed. 
To contend in this context means to assert, to struggle or to fight
the opposition.
Opposition is anything that stands between us and
wholehearted worship …whether it is spiritual opposition or internal
resistance in our own soul. There are many aspects of Christianity I could address
where we should contend. However, the Holy Spirit has me focusing on contending
for and in our worship
. We must
fight against anything that inhibits or opposes fully honoring Him in worship.
The church
in general has become complacent in praise and worship of our God. We have
fallen into personal routines.  Human nature strives for comfort; comfort
in every aspect of life; our home, our car, our furniture, our food, our music, etc.  Striving for comfort overflows into how we offer
praise and worship to our God. We bring our personal comfort levels to
corporate worship. Over time it becomes
half-hearted rather than whole-hearted.
Comfort is,
well, comforting…like a soft reclining chair…a quiet setting away from
noise…a familiar way of doing something. Comfort implies a freedom from
resistance in the soul and body. However, comfort over time breeds complacency.
Complacency becomes the default setting in our soul and body. It’s the place we
settle where there is no resistance. Complacency is like a stagnant pond. Over time
we grow to like that pond. It’s familiar and warm. However, stagnant ponds have
no fresh water flowing in, no cool rains coming down, and no outflow to release
the old and bring in the new. 
Complacent mindsets can develop in every church,
every culture and every person unless the church, the culture, the
person CONTENDS for fresh water, cooling rain and releasing outflow from their
soul and body.
In praise
and worship we develop comfort levels; the place we sit or stand in a
gathering; the way we physically praise and worship; the level at which we
participate. If we don’t lift our hands in worship, that’s our comfortable
place. If we don’t sing, that’s our comfortable place. If we meditate, that’s
our comfortable place. Over time doing the same thing becomes a stagnant
pool because we are worshiping on a default setting. We are going through the motions but forgetting the mission! The
mission is to honor, exalt, praise and worship God wholeheartedly in line with
His Word.
It is at
this place of stagnancy that we must CONTEND in and for the fullness of praise
and worship.
This stagnant place offers opportunity to draw upon the
Spirit of God’s fresh water and rain.
We draw by choosing to do something
we have not done before! From the days of
John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing
and forceful men lay hold of it
. (Matt. 11:12)  We draw by forcefully engaging in our whole
heart, taking captive every thought of internal resistance and submitting it
to Christ.  We draw by forcefully moving out
of what we have been doing into what we will do. We respond to the Word of God,
what He says about praise and worship. We forcefully come into alignment with a
fuller expression of praising and worshiping the Father. Whole-hearted praise
and worship in spirit and in truth will always require forceful men and women to contend together!   In so doing we lay hold of that aspect of
the Kingdom!
I encourage
you to contend, to fight the good fight, to get beyond the default setting in
your soul and move into the greater, fuller, whole-hearted dimension of our
Father in praise and worship. Praise be to His Name!


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