|Kingdom Principle: The heart of worship does not take offense or give defense.
In the stance of worship – the rest of the world (or all of reality, beyond what I worship) is removed from my focus.
Imagine being in drawn so deeply to what you love that your expression of passion and intimacy create an unbreakable force field around you, such that nothing can distract or bother you. Some might call this a trance like state of paradise others will claim it a euphoria, I call it worship. Regardless of the object of your worship, the reality is that to engage worship you must have a single focus. To whom or what do you give yourself to? Worship is given often in our culture– heads are bowed constantly in every room as people stare into their phones, shouts of joy and celebration fill entire stadiums as sport teams score, parents sacrifice everything even their own will, in order to ensure that their child is never denied an opportunity (this in unhealthy ways) – each of these is an act of worship. It is not hard to worship, because we have been designed to worship. Our heart is designed to give itself to others. In this giving we will either end up let down and broken-hearted (due of loss) or we will have a heart of brokenness (for we have been filled and overwhelmed). In true brokenness we are not defensive nor do we take offense as others break. In this post I will look at worship as an undivided focus given to God as praise, adoration, submission and sacrifice.
There is much to enjoy in expressing worship, here are a few essential posts:
Worshiping in the Kingdom – we experience the heart of Eternity.
Worshiping 24/7 – we make a choice.
Worshiping in the midst of pain & chaos – we express resiliency and know our purpose.
Worshiping in the midst of success & stardom – we express intimacy & identity of Christ.
This post states the ultimate test of our depth of worship. (Not how to, or to whom or why we worship) The depth of our worship can be measured by the degree to which you do not take offense or need to give defense – otherwise known as being distracted. As I worship what has the power to break my focus? To worship the King “24/7” as an act of labor and love, whether you are in pain & chaos or success and stardom you must allow nothing to offend and nothing make you defensive. This is possible only as you have a single focus and that focus is God. (This also can lead you to ask yourself – Have I ever truly worshiped God?)
First, let me draw to light that taking offense is a choice. Just like what or whom you worship is a choice. When you allow another to offend you, you are giving your focus to them – which makes them the object of your focus (worship). Most have learned to blame offense on the other person’s actions, but the reality is that you are choosing to take offense. The same concept holds true for defensiveness. As we choose to defend ourselves and take offense based on our wounding, expectations and lies which we choose to cling to we are anchoring in Pride and Idolatry. (which is the worship of self and false gods)
The reality of being offended or defensive (which we have all experienced) are chosen by us. Worship is also a choice to be given to something greater than that which is “offensive or defensive”. The Psalm this week invites the world to worship, and just clearly states that God will come as judge. This is an invitation to choose not to take offense or give defense, rather let us choose to allow our heart to be given to God and others. Elijah demonstrates that in worship nothing else (obstacle, offense, defense, challenge or chaos) exists. (Keep reading 1 Kings and be reminded how quickly we can fall out of the place of worship) Paul declares to Galatia – there is a choice to be made – in making it God removes the doubt and fear in your lives – allowing the single passion of your life to be your God-given worship as a life purpose. The Faith of the Centurion demonstrates how we are to “come” before God. – in Humility and with reverence. God has all authority and power, this reality draws us to worship him as the one true KING!
In general do you find yourself more inclined to be a person who takes offense or gives defense?
- Taking offense pushes others away so that you can control (embarrass/ridicule) them.
- Giving defense draws others close so that you can control (impress/convince) them.
Control gives us comfort and in a sense removes the triggers. When in reality what we need are the triggers so that we can embrace brokenness and have a contrite heart before God.
What triggers (you to take) offense in you? First – Release it/them to God. That is the easy part – NOW –as you release the object of offense to God, allow God to show you where that offense lives in you. (What you released was the trigger) This offense which lives in you has been covered to protect you from pain. Allow God to heal the pain, God can handle your wound – release it to God as well.
What causes (you to give) defensiveness? First – Hold your tongue, and allow God to come near to you – Let God be your defense. Even if you are right, release your rights to discover resiliency. As you hold your tongue, open your ears to others and allow God to show you what you are defending. This place which you are protecting is a place of pain and as with offense, this has been triggered and lives in you as well. Allow God to heal the pain.
The call of this post is to become aware of that which has the power to object (thwart) to your worship. When we leave pain uncheck and un-redeemed it drives us to worship that which covers our pain, rather than the only ONE who can heal our pain. In discovering this trigger as a distraction you will have identified whom or what is truly the object of your worship. We are to worship God, and to have no other idols before Him. Let us move to live our lives as an expression of worship through the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:2)
In taking offense or giving defense you are placing yourself in the position to be the object of worship.
- The person who is apt to take offense – I encourage you to seek Mercy.
- To the person who is apt to give defense – I encourage you to seek Grace.
The power of mercy shall melt the walls of false identity, and the power of grace will invite true intimacy. We can not enter worship without being willing to embrace our identity of Christ and share in the intimacy of the Trinity.
Here are a few extra verses to consider on the road to living without offense or defense.
Romans 12:14-21 (ESV)
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[a] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[b] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Proverbs speaks directly to the concept of taking offense.
Proverbs 17:9 (ESV)
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
Proverbs 18:19 (ESV)
A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
Proverbs 19:11 (ESV)
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 (ESV)
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
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