“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and give me a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:12
“Consider me and answer, Lord my God. Restore brightness to my eyes; otherwise, I will sleep in death.” Psalm 13:3
I don’t know about you, but my hallelujah these days is puffy-eyed and groggy. Exhausted, in the most raw sense. Somewhere in the mix it has become a quiet chore. Somewhere along the way I stopped expecting and started living on yesterday’s word, which became last week’s, which became last month’s. And this is not to say that the Lord cannot or will not fall fresh on scripture that you have read a million times, but it is to say that you, me, we cannot survive spiritually on just assuming that what the Lord did for us yesterday will fulfill today’s needs.
Think about it like this: you make a batch of lemonade and it is the best lemonade you’ve ever tasted. You leave the squeezed lemons out on the counter over night and come back to make a new batch the next morning. You grab yesterday’s lemons and squeeeeze them, only to find that they are completely used up. This does not change the fact that yesterday’s batch of lemonade rocked your world—it simply means you need new lemons!
I think sometimes, though—if not most—it is easier to just set the lemons down and drink something else rather than going all the way to the store to buy new ones because you don’t feel like it. The getting dressed, the time, the money, the gas—it would all encroach on what you had planned for your day.
Sound familiar? (Hint: we’re not really talking about lemons. I mean, we are, but we’re not.)
“…no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. But they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:17
For me, worship begins with a thankful heart. And with that, often comes the mistake of correlating a fuzzy, warm, “feel good” moment for thankfulness. While, yes, thankfulness can come in that package, where this becomes dangerous is when we are only thankful when things feel good. And if we allow ourselves to get real for a second, when things don’t feel good, when they hurt or we are tired opening our Bible and getting with Jesus sounds exhausting. This is why it is referred to as a sacrifice of thanksgiving on so many occasions in Scripture (Psalm 116:17, Hebrews 13:15, Psalm 50:14). Therefore we must acknowledge that hallelujah isn’t there for the sole purpose of making us feel good.
In his letter to the Romans Paul warns the people not to get comfortable in the patterns of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds that they could receive and discern God’s perfect will for their lives (Romans 12:2). The same stands true for us in 2017. If we enable ourselves to fall into a thankless pattern of stagnancy—inexpectancy void of true worship and pursuit of the Lord, we open the door and set out the welcome mat for heartache.
To stop expecting of the Lord is a dangerous place to be. We have to first be transformed, renewed, willing to let the Spirit fall on fresh, cultivated—ready, soil—no one puts new wine in old wineskins, or a new word in a complacent heart.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
“For the Lord will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places, and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and melodious song.” Isaiah 51:3
“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
If you are still reading and you have heard nothing else, please hear me when I say: Jesus didn’t spend thousands of years of His existence divinely appointing people to fill the pages of a book with empty promises.
He is a gentleman. He is always on time. He is trustworthy. He desires to do a new thing in us, if we would only let Him.
“‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man. Say to it: This is what the Lord God says: Breath, come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so that they may live!’ So I prophesied as He commanded me; the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army.” Ezekiel 27:1-14
My prayer today is that we would call out to our dry bones, expectant of the Lord to breathe life and a new word. That we would WAKE UP our hallelujah! That we believe that He is far able to quench even the deserts of our hearts and that He will be faithful to see to an end to the work He has started in us.
- Am I making time to truly encounter the Lord?
- Have I stopped expecting? If so, what am I putting before Him and where do I begin again?
- Do I believe that He is indeed trustworthy and faithful to finish what He’s begun?