He came in His Father’s name, and we crucified Him, Jn 5:43-44, “I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” There are considerably more award ceremonies today than there were fifty years ago. Why? Who are we honoring with these award ceremonies and their ensuing box office receipts? And, who is the real Rock Star?
We all want to touch the stars as they pass by us on the way to the court, the stage, or the next tee box. We only need to watch a golf tournament, singers when they get near the edge of the stage or basketball players heading from the tunnel to the court, to verify the fact that many people want to touch their heroes? We all wanted to share in the glory Michael Jordan created, night after night. Not everyone got that opportunity, however, Jesus allows all of us to share in His glory by inviting us into His presence, and He makes Himself available twenty-four-seven, Rev 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
How many of us have wondered why we love rock concerts, or rocking sports arenas, with their crowds of screaming worshippers? We want to be there in the arena to feel the pulse. Sure, watching it on TV would be a purer experience, if the performance were all we were after, for we could rewind what we have seen/heard to enjoy that moment, again. Sure, going to the event means we have to deal with traffic, crowds, mediocre food, and exorbitant costs. But, we want to be in the crowd worshipping our heroes, why?
Could it be we are trying to fulfill a deep desire to be in the presence of God, worshipping Him? Are we programmed to feel a need to experience the pulse of billions of beings praising and worshipping? Is this the vision Isaiah is describing, Is 6:1-4, “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” The “posts of the door moved…and the house was filled with smoke,” now that is feeling the pulse.
Does Isaiah’s description remind us of some of those rock concerts or the opening introductions at an NBA basketball game? Someone, or some group/team, is being worshipped and a crowd is screaming out their support in the form of praise and worship, “we are number one” or “rock on!” The difference is, God truly is a Rock Star. He created everything that exists, and He has a plan in place that will culminate with the creation of a family He will live with for all eternity. Can we really compare that to the game-winning shots Michael Jordan made?
King David understood this when he wrote, Ps 63:3-4, “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.” The feelings King David is expressing are the ones we will share as a crowd in heaven. It will be better than the best rock concert, the last inning of game seven of the World Series, or the last two minutes of the Super Bowl game.
God is our only true Rock Star! He is a rock, because He is strong, He never changes, and He will never disappoint those who believe in Him, Ps 18:2, “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” and Heb 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” He not only is a star, He created all of the stars we see in the sky and every one of us who think we are the Rock Stars, Ps 8:3-4, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Everything else is a poor attempt to copy the experience of being in the presence of the Lord!
We all know that the enemy will continue bringing us counterfeits of the real thing, as he tries to turn our heads and hearts away from God. Satan hates it when we praise and worship God. So, he gives us substitutes, anything he can find to dull our senses enough to distract us from the real thing, the Rock Star of all eternity, God! This is why the first commandment God gave us was to have no gods before Him, to protect us from the wiles of the devil, Ex 20:3, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” He does not want Satan to lead us away from Him. Heroes can be good things, but not when we treat them like gods, or when we worship them, and we should never put them before our God. When we praise God, we are led to re-evaluate our lives, Prov 4:26-27, “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” This means we change, which might involve abandoning some of the things we are doing; and many of us don’t want to abandon those activities. Thus, our stubbornness leads us away from praising our God, and so, we have to find substitutes.
God did not create us to live dull lives of never-ending routine worship; so sporting events and rock concerts are to be treated as entertainment, not worshipped as idols or gods. He created us to have abundant lives, Jn 10:10: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” and healthy entertainment enlivens us and increases our enjoyment of this life. My love for music led me to listen to songs that stirred me, however, when I paid attention to the lyrics, I was dismayed. The lyrics were laced with negative ideas, which were leading me away from God and His righteousness. Now I listen to K-Love and hear the same rhythms and beats, with lyrics that support my feelings of joy and my love of God, which brings me closer to Him and His peace. We all have choices in this life, and some of them will lead us to healthy joyful activities, some will not, Phil 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
We are to enjoy this life, as we fulfill our part in His plan, Matt 12:50, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” When we do the will of the Father, we are praising Him by our actions, and we are leading others to Him. And, if it is not enjoyable, we are putting too much of ourselves into His plan. It has taken thirty years for me to understand this. Only after truly wrestling with Jesus’ words was I able to feel them, to know the joy He calls us to. Jesus tells us He is the true vine, not the vine Israel has believed it was all these years, but rather the part of that vine that calls all to Biblical Israel, Matt 1:1, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” There is one fine line that leads through Abraham and David to Jesus, and that line is not marked by religion or region of birth. It is a line leading to the narrow path, which calls all of us to follow Jesus’ way to the Father.
Only when we are abiding in Him, making Him our home, can we produce the fruit of His vine, Jn 15:2-3, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” He tells us we cannot produce fruit without Him, Jn 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Without Him, we think we are Rock Stars, and it would be foolishness to follow Jesus. When we hear one of us asking the question, “Do you know who I am?” we begin to understand this truth. Who are we to question this person; they believe we should be worshipping them as Rock Stars. Too many believe worshipping the Father only means bowing down to Him or raising our hands in praise. They do not understand that when we abide in Him, by following His commandments, we are worshipping Him. People who choose this path will spend all of eternity with Him, abiding in His love and living the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The life of a person living the fruit of the Spirit brings joy to Jesus and the Father; and these people will experience the fullness of God’s joy, Jn 15:11, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” This is the joy Paul and Silas exemplified, as they sang in prison after being beaten, Acts 16:25, “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Our circumstances do not determine the level of our joy, our abiding in God’s love does. Living in the will of the Father should not be hard work, Matt 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” We need no longer seek the status of Rock Star with the stress and pressure that goes with it. We are free to rest in the fullness of His joy.
It is rather simple, follow Jesus and the Father’s plan for our lives, and it will not feel like a burden. It will be totally joyful! Instead of casual sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll; we will have peace, joy, and eternal love! We will have turned our backs on the imitations created to lead us away from God. We will be celebrating with the only true Rock Star! Rock on!
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