A Place, Thing and Person
I have had many memorable events occur during the course of my short life, one of which stands out more vividly than many of the others. It was midmorning and I was walking down a very steep mountain, the sun was warm, and the people were many. I stopped at one point to admire the view of the city as it overlooked a most significant place. I had a book with me, so I opened it and began to read the historical accounts of events that had taken place on this very path in which I was walking. I was quite moved. My heart was experiencing things I had never felt before. I was overwhelmed with awe.
Looking back to that day, I realized I learned a most valuable lesson; a lesson that continues to reveal its depth. I learned the meaning of worship (extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem). Now there are numerous definitions on the term worship, but for me it boils down to one word. Love. So let me ask, “What is the desire of your heart?” Seemingly, a pretty complex question, there is actually a quite simple answer for those who truly worship (love) God.
Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. (Isaiah 26:8)
Him. He is our desire. His name and His renown. His glory. (I would like to take this time to recommend reading the book Desiring God by John Piper for a much more detailed theological analysis of this idea.) To love the Lord as God, I must desire Him above all other things.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:7-8)
Everything a loss? Everything does not mean something. It means everything. So everything in life is trash, garbage, rubbish, worthless, and useless compared to the knowledge of knowing Christ. I’ll admit, it has taken many years walking with the Lord for my heart to truly come to a place to embrace that. Okay, so a little less pressing than, “What is the desire of your heart?” I ask, “What is just one thing you desire?” Wealth, health, or happiness?
One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple. (Psalms 27:4)
The one thing we should desire is Him. Why? Because nothing else matters. If we truly believe what Paul said in Philippians 3, then our only desire should be for Him. “Well then,” I asked myself, “Is it bad to desire other things?” (I was stuck on this one for a little while…) After linking all these things together I realized, yes. For I have found that if I desire other things that do not flow out of my desire for Him, then they are not honoring to Him. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t have desires, it means that all of my desires come out of my desire for Him.
Then I found myself coming back to my original question, “Do you really love me?” And by using this term “love,” I do not mean the same kind of love that I feel towards shoes or material things. Nor do I mean the same kind of love as when I speak of “loving to be outside.” This love is much deeper. This is the kind of love described in Philippians 3:10-11, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” This kind of love wants to suffer and die because it has the faith of knowing it will be raised up!
“We were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:4-10)
Back to my story from the beginning… That mountain I was walking down was the Mount of Olives. The city I overlooked was Jerusalem. The significant place I admired was the Temple Mount. The historical events I read was from Matthew 21:8, “Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘ Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” The path I was walking down was the very same path my King road into this town on a donkey looking His death straight in the eye, anticipating the fellowship He could have with me. I was moved because I finally began to grasp this dying love called worship. I was overwhelmed with Him because He was there with me walking. He was holding my hand saying, “Daughter, I walked down this hill to my death so that I could hold your hand for eternity.”
Oh how I love Him.