Since man first rebelled in Genesis, we have always had a choice of who it is we will follow. Our hearts are naturally selfish, in fact Jeremiah 17:9 says that “there is nothing as deceitful as the heart…” Outside of God, our heart will naturally desire its own will. Our heart follows what we see as correct, what comforts our flesh and what benefits us. This is a part of our sinful, unchanged character. Even if we have met Jesus and have been filled by His Spirit, that does not mean that everything we think and desire is automatically truth, and to believe so is a great deception. When we first meet Jesus, the conflict within us has just begun, between obeying the desire of the Spirit, and obeying our own flesh.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Rom 7:18- 20)
God is not looking for slaves, and He will not force anyone to serve Him, but instead He desires servants. He is looking for servants who are prepared to put aside the desires of their own hearts in order to have their hearts changed by God, to seek His will over our own, to give our lives to following Him on His terms. This is the basis of the Kingdom, that people would willingly give up their lives in order to seek the will of the King. If we are to see the Kingdom of God established in our own lives and in our churches this must become our foundation, that our opinion, desires and will no longer matter. All that matters is doing the will of the Father.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20.)
Worship is the singularly most important act on our journey to be His servant. Worship is the act of actively deciding to surrender our authority, in order to obey the will of God. Unless we become true worshipers, surrendering our own desires, we will never be used by God to do His will, but instead we will fall into the trap of advancing that which uses God’s name and has an appearance of God, but is not genuinely what He is doing. It is very easy to build churches or to do ministry in the flesh, using the name of Jesus, and indeed genuinely believing that we are doing His will, and yet if all that we do does not come from that point of being surrendered to Him and being in unity with what He is doing, we will instead merely produce counterfeit Christianity. This may give the appearance of the genuine, but if it is built by the will and resource of man rather than the Spirit of God, it will merely be fleshly works. As much as this may impress man, and give the outward appearance of success it will not be God’s work.
It is vital that we realise that our submission to God, the seeking of His heart and His will comes first in our lives and our churches. It is the foundation of anything that is truly Kingdom. Without His vision and heart, that which we produce will come from what we ourselves judge to be correct, and what we see as being truth. Every person used by God in the Bible was first and foremost a worshipper. A great example of this was David. David was chosen out of all God’s people to rule Israel: “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” (Acts 13:22.)
Because David was a man who sought the heart of God, God trusted him to do all that He wanted him to do. God was able to establish Israel in the manner in which He wanted to at this time because here was a man who, no matter how flawed as a person, sought the heart of God over everything else. We as His people have to also learn that we will only be used by God to the degree that we seek His will over our own. A truly kingdom church is a church that seeks the will of the King over everything. Worship is our conscious act of seeking Him above ourselves, and surrendering to Him. It is not a musical style or a time of entertainment or a sing-along, it is a time of seeking the very heart of the Father. If seeking Him is not the centre of our lives and our churches, we will never be used by Him in the way in which he desires.
From that place of seeking and humbling ourselves before Him, from that place of real worship, we will draw closer to him, and our hearts will begin to desire what He desires. Through developing a relationship with God in worship and prayer, we will increasingly know two things: His voice and His heart.