The fruits of worship (Part 5)
If you’ve read the other studies I’ve written about worship, then by now you’ll know that the aim of worship always is to have a relationship from heart to heart. If you haven’t read the other studies yet, I want to encourage you to do so. There are several other studies in this category. In this study, while knowing what the aim of worship is, we’re going to look at the fruits of worship. Let’s start with the spiritual fruits.
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.”
The book of Micah 4 says exactly the same. It shows that Mount Zion is no longer a physical place on earth, but became a spiritual place. We know that Jesus went to heaven, to be with His Father. So we know that He is not on a physical place on earth.
Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
The Bible makes it clear that Mount Zion is a spiritual place in the heavens. Yet the Word also makes it clear that it still is accessible, even though we’re still alive on this earth. We can still have a taste of heaven. We are living in the latter days and are in the expectation of a worldwide end time revival, also known as the latter rain. Let’s take a look on how we can access Mount Zion. A remarkable part is found in the book of Isaiah, where he describes the latter days as well. It is a bit long, but I couldn’t leave anything out because it’s all part of the total picture.
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among you shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Remember what Isaiah 2 said? “The Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills”. And then in Isaiah 58: “I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth”. That is at the bottom of Mount Zion. The first step. Now let’s put it into perspective, because to some it still may be a bit confusing.
What Isaiah describes are the spiritual and natural fruits of a heart to heart relationship with our God. It is not a law as in “Thou shalt”, these are the results of a true walk with Christ. So it shows you something to measure your faith with. It shows you a base line where you can compare your life with. Now let me quickly add some things here, before you start to feel disappointed. Every thousand miles starts with one or two steps. We all have to start, we all have to proceed, to grow and to push on to get at the destination. But nobody starts half way, we all start at the beginning.
What do you think that God values more: To do everything right and to follow each law or to have a sincere heart and the willingness to change? At the beginning of each road, those two options are not going together. When we start it is just one of both. You can try to do everything right and to follow all the laws God has given. But I can tell you in advance that you will fail. We all have a tendency to first make ourselves perfect and to turn ourselves into a “good Christian”, before we turn to God. That is trying to live for Him without Him. It is impossible. There comes nothing good from our own flesh. While doing that, the only thing we have as a base line are the laws of God, the standard that was set by Him. And then we try to live up to that standard, out of our own power. It cannot be done. Sure you can try, but it will take you years of disappointment, setbacks and hardships, only to find out that you’ve failed when you come at the end of your life.
You cannot be justified by the law because you are guilty of breaking the law. That cannot be undone by the law. The only option the law has left for those who break the law, is everlasting condemnation. By trying to keep the law and make ourselves perfect, we are basically saying that we don’t need Jesus and that we don’t need His sacrifice, because we will do it on our own. Once again, it is impossible. His standards are too high to reach on our own power. There are only two options: Your live by the law and are judged by the law or you surrender to Jesus, even if you’re doing everything wrong, and you let Him change you. You’re always going in the direction where your focus is. If that is the law, you’re trying to be justified by the law. If it is Jesus, you’re moving in the right direction. He is the only way to receive grace and total forgiveness of sin, and He has every ability to change us.
The law works from the outside to the inside. It can just show us what is right and what is wrong. But the law cannot change us in any way. It just shows us that we really are in need of a Savior, because we cannot live up to those standards. But thank God we have another option! Because it is Jesus Who can and will change use from the inside out. The real change always needs to start on the inside. That is why a sincere heart and the willingness to change are more important to God, then you trying to keep laws that you cannot keep in your own power. We really need to stop trying to make ourselves perfect for God. Today Jesus invites you to come to Him with all of your weaknesses and all of your sin. That’s where it starts, with us coming to Him in all of our needs, humble and broken. With the confession that we cannot change ourselves and that we really need Him to take the lead in our lives. The Lord Jesus gave us a very powerful promise.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Following Jesus is realizing that you can’t do a thing without Him. Well, you can do a lot, but the stuff that really matters, you can only do with His help. The very first thing we need to do is to search our hearts to see if there is really a sincere willingness to follow Him and to change, even when changing gets tough. Are we really prepared to follow Him, no matter what the cost, no matter what He asks from us? Because the process of growing will only really start when you can sincerely answer this question with “yes”. That is what it means to die to self. It means we realize that Jesus bought us by His blood and that He now has the ownership of our lives. That means that He get to decide what happens, what we’ll do, how we’ll do it and when we’ll do it. Those are the questions we need to ask Him in everything in our lives. What does He want us to do? And to find out what it is what He wants us to do, is to ask, to search and knock. That is our part of the “deal”. His part is to give, to help us find and to open for us. Simply ask the Holy Spirit to help you, to give you knowledge, insight and wisdom to understand the Word of God. Then He will reveal His secrets to you and you will be able to understand everything that God meant with His Word.
Once the Word of God is being revealed to us, it will start to grow in us and becomes faith. The more of His Word we understand, the more authority we will gain. It is by our lack of knowledge that satan can fool us (Hosea 4:6). Yes, Jesus has given us authority over our enemy (Luke 10:19), but it is the Word of God that will reveal how to use that. The Word of God not only shows us how to use our authority, it will also show us how to live our lives and it will reveal the direction of our individual lives (Psalm 119:105). How will it change us? The law that once was laid upon us will become a desire from our hearts. So it no longer is something we “must” do, it becomes something we want to do, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It becomes a completely natural thing to do. Once we start to follow that path and the lead of the Holy Spirit, then the fruits that are mentioned in Isaiah 58 will become the obvious and natural thing in our lives. Because of that, His promise will come to pass and He will cause us to ride on the high hills of the earth. What that will be like? That is something for you to find out. The only thing I can tell you is that Jesus promised that when you ask you shall be given, when you search you will find and when you knock the door will be opened.
Let me add one more very important thing about this process. Climbing the mountain of the Lord, mount Zion, is growing to higher spiritual levels and more authority in the spirit. That sounds awesome and it is awesome. However, in the natural it has the opposite effect. The higher someone climbs, the lower, gentler and humbler someone becomes in the flesh. Throughout the years I have seen many people who claimed to be on high spiritual levels, who claimed a position and who claimed titles. Because they believed it was their right. They wanted to be honored as servants of the Lord. Those are not the fruits of the Spirit, but the fruits of pride and wickedness. They are blinded by their own lies. Those are the kind of people who are in fact on a very low spiritual level and they still need to learn a lot. Don’t be fooled by them. There are too many people in “ministry” who claim what doesn’t belong to them. Don’t allow them to have any influence in your life. Pride is poison for our spiritual lives. It was the sin that caused satan to be thrown out of heaven. A true servant of the Lord, a servant who is on higher spiritual levels, will always be humble. They will not rule over you, but serve you. They don’t ask for position or titles. They will not talk about their selves all the time, but Jesus will be their main topic. And most of all, they will never brag about the spiritual level they are on. They will just live their lives accordingly.