worship

Jesus made it clear that the culture of his kingdom was full of paradoxes. Want to become great? Be a servant. Want to receive? Then you’ll need to freely give. Want to really live? Then you’ll have to die to self. The last will be first, the humble are exalted, and the weak become strong. In other words, the way up in God’s kingdom is to go down.

But in addition to these paradoxes, the chronology of the kingdom defies our instincts too. God reverses many of our if-then, cause-and-effect expectations for our lives. Three of these in particular have been absolutely revolutionary in my experience. Though most of us would agree they are true, implementing them is an entirely different story. But if you can get these three things in the right order, all of life changes. They are that powerful.

• Believing then seeing. Most people approach matters of faith with the attitude, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” In the culture of God’s kingdom, it’s the other way around. “I’ll see it when I believe it.” That’s the life of faith. There are no alternate ways to receive God’s promises. As difficult and counterintuitive as it might seem, believing almost always comes before seeing, not after.

• Accepting then understanding. Most people won’t accept truth until they fully understand it. But let’s face it: God’s truth is infinite, and our brains aren’t. I’m not suggesting that you indiscriminately accept whatever you hear. That would be foolish. But when God is inviting us into his truth, there’s almost always an element of it we aren’t going to understand until after we’ve embraced it. In other words, we have to accept some mystery if we want to live in his kingdom. If we wait to understand, we’ll miss him in ways we’ll regret. But when we accept by faith what he says—even the hard things—then understanding begins to increase dramatically.

• Praise then increase. Most of us praise God in response to something he has already done. That’s good, but often in scripture the order is reversed: he does something in response to our praise. We see this in the psalms; many of them begin in crisis but end in victory or fruitfulness. But somewhere in the middle—before the resolution—the psalmist begins to praise God for the attribute he needs to see. Only then does the victory or harvest come. For a dramatic illustration of this, read about Jehoshaphat’s crisis-then-victory in 2 Chronicles 20. The worship team actually led the army onto the battlefield, and the battle was won before it even began. It’s natural to praise God after a harvest or a victory, but worship takes your story out of the natural realm and into the supernatural. Wouldn’t that be better before the story is over?

There are other if-thens in the kingdom culture, but these three alone will be life-changing. Insist on getting the order right in your own heart and mind, and then watch God reorder your circumstances, thoughts, and relationships in surprising and powerful ways.

Click to tweet: As difficult and counterintuitive as it might seem, believing comes before seeing.

Click to tweet: If we wait for understanding before we believe, we will never be able to experience him the way he wants us to. 

Click to tweet: Worship takes your story out of the natural realm and into the supernatural. Wouldn’t that be better before the story is over? 


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Jane Redmond 03.02.2014 09:30  
Yes No   Inspiring article. Yes, these 3 assignments need my attention and "homework," especially in our culture in America today. So many are frustrated, frightened, even angry with the mounting, day-after-day events taking place in our country. I have found no relief except to dive into the Word of God and place of prayer more and more in my days. I have been praying more and more in God's promises and asking him to help me trust and have stronger faith. Thank you for this piece.  
   
       
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