Throughout Advent this year, we are examining our longings. During this second week, we have been studying Psalm 73, learning what to do with envy and jealousy. If this is the first post you are reading in this series of five, I urge you to go back and start at the beginning, as the psalmist, Asaph, takes us on the journey of his struggle with the dark longing of envy. Now we’re at the end of the journey, and there is great hope for those of us who battle envy and jealousy. Asaph has revealed that worship changed everything for him.
Gather with God’s people. The other day we updated our master list of everyone who is a part of Faith Church. 140 people call Faith Church, but our attendance is averaging 80. That means every Sunday, 3/7 of our church family is not with us. What is so concerning about that, in light of Psalm 73, is the opportunity people in our church family are missing to allow worship to reorient their lives in God’s truth.
How many hours do we allow television networks to influence us each day? Think about how many hours we spend scrolling through feeds on social media apps. Think about how much we watch sports. Think about how much we watch movies and Netflix and play video games. And we have the audacity to question God about why he feels so far away. Of course our longings are misplaced. Of course we start to believe that the American Dream is actually important. And going to church on Sunday, or going to prayer meeting on Wednesday, or participating in a small group, or giving money to the church, or spending time on our own reading the Bible, praying, and choosing to give time in our lives to make disciples for Jesus, all of it seems meh. Easy to skip. Not nearly as entertaining as all those screens.
To that, we barely or rarely make a connection to how we spend our time and the vibrancy of our relationship with Jesus. Asaph is saying the same thing in Psalm 73. When he allowed his heart to focus on what appeared to be unjust and unfair, the fact that he was struggling and the wicked were prospering, he became so bitter. Asaph, in that moment, had no idea that his longings had become compromised. But when he worshiped, when he was face-to-face with truth, it was like the trance was broken, and he was able to see life as it really is. He was able to see that God is enough. And more than that, only God is enough, to fulfill our longings.
So let us fill our lives with God. If you haven’t done that, let me caution you that it won’t be easy to start. It won’t feel natural. Your longings haven’t been changed yet. They might rise up inside you with power and force, calling to be fulfilled, like cravings. But if you want true healing and wholeness, it is only God that is enough. That means persistence. Mark a line in your life today. Let today be the day.
From now on, be consistent in gathering for worship. What can you do to be at your church’s worship services more often? What other opportunities for worship does your church have? Prayer meeting? Will you consider making time for that too?
From now on, make consistent participation in a small group a priority, because we need each other in this life. God has given us each other. Don’t believe the lie that your relationship with God is just between you and him. That is totally false. Go back and read Psalm 73 and take note of how important God’s people were to Asaph.
From now on, spend time with him. What can you do to open up time in your life to be with him, to listen for his voice, remembering and believing that he is your portion?
When God is our portion, it shows. When God is our portion, when God is enough for us, the choices we make will clearly demonstrate that. I am convinced that we need a Christian audit system, where people can voluntarily submit their lives to a comprehensive audit. Where a mature, wise, trusted Christian will evaluate honestly for us how we spend our time, talent and treasure. When God is our portion, he is enough for us.