Control vs Worship
This past Sunday we lifted the lid on a desire to be in control. It's been working in our church and in our personal lives.
As we explored the fallout of Jesus raising Lazerus from the dead (John 11:45-12:11), we discovered a pattern of living and thinking that dates back to the very religious leaders that were catalysts in the crucification of Jesus.
These leaders were called Pharisees and we see them schemeing to kill Jesus and Lazerus to quell the increasing number of people that were believing in Jesus. They felt they had to remove Him from the picture to avoid giving the impression to their Roman rulers that they could not control the city they were overseeing.
They were afraid of appearing to not be in control. We too fear appearing to not be in control.
The problem is if we are trying to be in complete control then it means that Jesus is not fully enthroned upon our lives. So why do we fear and why do we so eagerly seek to be in control? Here are some possible reasons:
- we want to look good to outsiders and each other.
- we want to make sure nothing awkward happens. After all, we don't want anyone to think we're weird.
- we want to look like we've got our act togther.
These are all big players in driving us to try to retain control of our lives. But there is one major truth that we have not yet acknowledged...
Maybe, just maybe, we want to be in control is because we are more concerned about what people think of us than what God thinks of us.
How this plays out is that we mute our expression of worship to God. We hold back the praise and the fullness that He has placed inside us and create an image of God for ourselves that leaves us dissatisfied in our realtionship with Him.
Contrasting to this in the passage we find Mary, the sister of the risen dead man, Lazerus. She pours a bottle of perfume, worth around £25,000 in today's money, all over His feet. She bathes feet which were caked in dirt, sweat and animal mess, and then wipes them clean with her hair! It's an exuberant act of worship that shatters social norms.
And in this comes the freedom. Our prayer is to be like Mary. We must come before God, as Him where we are just trying to keep up appearances to the detrement of our worship, and ask Him to change us and free us.
God came to free us and give us fullness of life. He wants His church to be a breeding ground for freedom and worship. In short:
When we worship God on God's terms we get God.
When we worship God on our terms we get disappointed.
Where is Jesus leading you? Where do you need to give Him control?