My mom died too soon – and it rocked my world.
A month or so later, my friend, Kevin (who happened to be a counselor), came up to me at church and asked how I was doing. I could tell it wasn’t just a casual, thoughtless question. He really wanted to know. I ended my reply to him with “I’m just waiting for things to get back to normal.”
He lovingly replied, “No, this is normal. You need to accept the new normal.”
I was stunned. Not just by what he said, but at how I could be so oblivious to something so obvious! I suddenly had a new normal. One I hated, but one I needed to learn how to accept and live in.
You know what? The moment we become a child of God, He wants us to accept and embrace a new normal. But this would be the ultimate new normal – beyond description – if we allow it! The “old is gone and the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)!
The most important part of our new normal is the relationship. God wants us to know and embrace that intimacy with Him can be the new normal.
We don’t have to wonder who He is, where He is, what He thinks, how He feels, or what He’ll do. It’s all in His word – and His word is truth (Psalm 33:4). And His open invitation is “Come!” (Isaiah 55:1a). We can know and intimately engage with with the God who saved us!
Grasping the truths about who God is – especially in relationship to you – completely changes the “normal” of how you enter and engage in worship.
You can know –
– what He expects from you as you come. “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? . . .” (keep reading Psalm 24:3-5).
– He is waiting for you and welcoming you. “How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You, To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple” (Psalm 65:4).
– you have an intimate audience with God Almighty. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8a).
– His Spirit will guide you. “ . . . we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).
– He will engage your entire being. “Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him” (Psalm 45:11b).
– He will reveal Himself to you. “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
– He will respond to your humble offering. “I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:4b-5).
– you will be transformed. “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
That’s what God calls normal worship! There’s nothing routine or passive about it. It’s a normal that envelops our seeking, knowing, and loving Him – and ultimately, the intimate bowing of our hearts to Him. That’s why He sought and saved us! And it’s why He pours Himself out for us everyday. It’s laid out for us in His word, and that’s where we must immerse ourselves to keep growing in our new normal as a child of God.
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
Pray that God’s normal becomes your normal. Let it permeate every area of your life. Don’t remain oblivious to something He’s made so obvious for us in His word. Ask Him to lead you into His plan for your relationship with Him and your worship. Release all that doesn’t fit into His perfect idea of normal (may involve repentance and submission) and embrace all He offers you as your own.
Because His normal is perfect – and stunningly beautiful – like Him.
What’s your biggest challenge in embracing God’s idea of normal worship?
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