Whole-life worship is living the “large life.” God has called us to live a “large” life for Him. He wants to give us His blessings, His power, His love, His forgiveness, His joy, His hope, His peace, and His transformation. These are all LARGE things. They, if we will receive them, enable us to live ABUNDANT lives (John 10:10; John 15); more than that, we will also be able to live INFLUENCING lives – where others look and take notice (Matt. 5:14-16).
But there are parasites ingrained in our fallen nature that want to kill the seeds of God’s largeness from bearing fruit. These “life-shrinkers” are the thoughts, attitudes and actions that make our lives small, puny and petty. They are in direct opposition to living out “whole-life worship” to God. I am reminded of when Jesus could not do any miracles in a particular Galilean village because of their lack of faith – they were living lives dominated by life-shrinkers!
Although life-shinkers are common to all, everyone has their own customized set of life-shrinkers that specialize in short-circuiting the life of Christ in them. Mine are: impatience with others, a critical spirit, greed, envy, guilt and fear. These life-shrinkers are constantly at work to steal away God’s largeness of life. Here’s how they work in some not-so-hypothetical situations:
I notice that someone else is flourishing (ministry, financial, relational). I have a choice of rejoicing in their blessing or becoming envious. If I choose the envy route it leads me down a life-shrinking path: discrediting them, becoming resentful, joining others who are also envious, passing on juicy gossip, etc. In the process I become a much smaller, limited person.
A supervisor at work has the gall to reprimand me about something that he/she is always guilty of doing. What nerve! I have the choice to either look at the reprimand objectively and prayerfully or to harbor bitter feelings toward my supervisor. If I choose to harbor bitterness and its “life shrinking” powers go immediately into effect. I spend my hours at work watching for their every mistake, stacking up my case against them, and looking for the opportunity to get even.
The world likes to call Christians “a bunch of hypocrites.” That’s because many Christians suffer a credibility gap – what we say about ourselves does not match how we live. I believe this is due to the fact that, although we have the BIGNESS of God in our lives, our day-to-day decisions are more influenced by the “life-shrinkers” within us. The Apostle Paul tells us to put to death those things that “shrink” our lives (Galatians 5:16-21, Ephesians 4:17-5:21).
What has helped me put these life-shinkers to death is to recognize them for what they are when they come to me. When a thought or attitude wants me to take action or to react in speech, I’ll say to myself, “That is such a small way to think. C’mon, you were called to bigger things than to react in that way.” Then I will pray, “God, I die to this way of thinking. Please lead me in Your path of right thought, speech and action.” And EVERY TIME I do this, the thought or attitude dies. Every time! I must say that it is a lot easier to do this when you nip these things at the bud (it’s a lot harder, but not impossible, to overcome the “life-shinkers” when we always yield to the desires of our fallen nature).
So live large in whole-life worship by getting rid of the “life-shrinkers” with the help of Christ’s grace and power. Then you’ll have another reason to sing His praises!
Purify my heart, cleanse me from within and make me holy. Purify my heart, cleanse me from my sin, deep within.
(“Refiner’s Fire” by Brian Doerksen)