I mean, we've all been there right? When our schedule fills up, when sleep seems like the most attractive option, when our awe of God fades....worship just isnt at the top of our list. I mean sure, in your head, the answer to "whats the most important thing in your life" may still be God, but are your heart and actions still reflecting that? These past couple months have been killer for me. I started a new job working 20-30 hours a week, being a full time student, worship team commitments, small group meetings, working out, a social life, time with Jesus, and on top of all this, trying to find the time to just be still. I literally felt like there was NO time in my day. And oh yea...WHERE did my sleep go?! Every night I go to sleep, saying, "Oh God, I'm sorry for not putting you first. I will wake up early tomorrow and spend time with you first thing". And then I go to sleep...my alarm goes off for 6:00am...and I forget why its even going off. Day after day, night after night. Feeling distant from Jesus was becoming a routine. Finally, this morning I had time to journal and study the word. The Lord brought me to Malachi chapter 1, and oh how relevant and convicting it was.
MALACHI CHAPTER ONE//
1:2 "I have always loved you," says the Lord. I love that this is the first thing God tells the prophet Malachi to tell his people. That he has always loved us, despite all the things that we have done, and is about to convict us for, he wants us to know how much he loves us in the midst of it all.
You have shown contempt for my name// "A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name! 1:6
-----The main thing that stuck out to me in this was the word honor. To me, honoring a father and a master (both things of this world), are putting them as a priority. Honoring my father is a priority of mine. Respecting the attendace policy in my classes is a priority of mine. My father, the education system, sleep, work, these are all things OF God, given BY GOD. If I'm prioritizing them before I prioritize God, these things have become idols in my life.
Unworthy Sacrifices// "You defile your sacrifices and my alter by saying the alter of the Lord deserves no respect. When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isnt that wrong? And isnt it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like tha tto your governor, and see how pleased he is!' says the Lord of Heaven's Armies. 1:8
------What respect do we have for the Lord and the worship he is worthy of when we give him "blind animals" or animals that are "crippled and diseased"...AKA, the leftovers of what you have. You have healthy, beautiful animals to give, but youre giving him the things you dont need or want, your left overs. How many times a day do I give him my leftovers? I put so much time into studying and being faithful in school and relationships, that I forget about the one who gave them all to me. And by the end of the day, all I have left is a few prayers here and there, an "i'm sorry" and I wake up the next morning and unintentionally do it all again.
All or Nothing// "How I wish one of you would shut these doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you, and I will not accept your offerings."
----Ouch. He wants whole hearted worship, or nothing at all. No worship is better than worship with contempt. (*contempt: negative attitude towards something or someone regarding it as inferior or worthless). This, we already know of God: he wants you to be hot or cold, not lukewarm. Lukewarm faith is not pleasing to him.
Too Big a Request// "But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing comtemptible food, you are saying its alright to defile the Lords table. You say, 'It's to hard to serve the Lord,' and you turn your noses up at my commands." 1:12
------We all know that actions speak louder than words. The voice of our action of "half hearted worship" is speaking dishonor upon the name of the Lord. Our contemptable actions are giving onlookers the example of what worship should be, saying its "alright to defile His table". The thought of the discipline and sacrifice it takes to really give whole hearted worship, scares alot of people. It leads us to give up, and turn away from Jesus. But the truth of it is, we are only sacrificing the things he sacrificed himself for us to have: free will.
Empty Promises// "Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock, but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord." 1:14
-----Guilty, guilty, guilty. Like I mentioned above, every night I find myself saying "Lord, I will put you first tomorrow." I promise the best, but still give him a 'defective' offering, half hearted worship. Its become something of an accomplishment to spend time with God. As I write that, I hate seeing it on a paper. An accomplishment??? Spending time with the creator? Falling in the love with Jesus? An accomplishment? I need a renewed mind, and renewed spirit.
Grace// Now although his despise for half hearted worship still remains the same, one thing has changed since the old testament when this was written: Jesus. Because he came, there is grace every day when I dont wake up when I should. There is grace when I view being in his presence as an accomplishment that I have earned by proritizing my time correctly. There is grace when my selfishness gets in the way of wanting to worship. There is grace when I overlook the truth. Even though the heart of God doesnt sway on this subject, there is grace. Grace abounding that I am so thankful for.
1. Analyze your daily worship to God. How do you worship him?
2. Do you feel that you are giving your whole heart in worship to God? Or is it half hearted? Why.
3. What kind of promises are you making to the Lord that you arent keeping?
4. How can you work to change your halfhearted worship to whole hearted devotion?
5. Respond to the truth of the grace that covers us every day that our worship isnt whole hearted.