What if God were a genie in a bottle and He told you that you could have three wishes? What would they be? Caution! Your answer will reveal your heart.
“Three wishes, eh! I better think it through. Fame? Fortune? Power? Position? Recognition? Health?” Though our wishes might vary, one thing is predictable. We are more likely to wish for something for Self. Perhaps, in a more altruistic moment, we might spend one wish on someone else.
Yet, we dare ask, “What would God want for us to want?” I think God wants us to want what He wants from us. (Maybe you should read that again. Slower.)
The Bible reveals much about what God desires from us. The Old Testament is replete with urging for us to “Seek the LORD.” “Praise Him.” “Worship the Lord with all your might.” “Enter into His gates with singing and into His courts with praise.”
“Okay,” you might answer, “I go to church every Sunday morning and sing hymns of praise to Him. On occasion, I even put on worship CDs in my house or car.” Nah! That is not what the Lord is looking for. He desires continuous praise that comes from deep within the heart.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, “The hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipper shall worship the Father in spirit and truth.” John 4:23. But we ask, “How can I worship God in spirit and truth when there is nothing in me capable of doing that? What does that even mean?” Truth is, we cannot do that on our own. We desperately need the enablement of His precious Holy Spirit within us to be the source of such praise. Ask Him to enable you.
Then, empowered by His Holy Spirit from on high, we may often find ourselves praising and worshipping God in a manner we never thought possible, not just on Sundays, but at extraordinary times throughout the week.
God deserves our highest praise and is altogether worthy of our worship. Certainly, He knows that we need to praise and worship Him more than He needs to be worshipped. Nevertheless, that is not the issue!
His Word [the Bible] makes it clear that we are to give priority to our praise and worship of Him. Thus we ask, “Is praise and worship of Him by any chance my priority? Is my praise and worship of Him more important than fame, fortune, power, position, recognition or any other thing that I might seek for myself?”
Given the choice to either win the multi-million dollar lottery or to have the enabling presence of God’s Holy Spirit that we might worship Him in spirit and in truth—and we could not have both—for what would we ask? I know. I hesitated also. You see how earthly minded we are?
Yet, in the grand sweep of things, when our hearts are in sync with God’s, we would spend our first wish on the ability to praise Him in spirit and truth.
We should be thankful, God is not a genie in a bottle and we do not make wishes to Him. He is not present to meet our every demand. He desires to be present within us that we might have that blessed fellowship with Him as a loving Father would have with loving sons and daughters.
Therefore, let us “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2.
Charles Elliott Newbold, Jr. has served as pastor, teacher and is an author calling forth Christians to live the laid-down life for Jesus Christ. He and his wife, Nancy McDonald Newbold live in Knoxville, Tennessee where Charles continues his writing.