When we look at the landscape of Church History, it’s quite clear that over time, man has done his best to remove the hills, straighten the roads, and fill in the valleys that were once apart of that history. Where lush, dense forests and rolling hills were once the means by which God lead men into a deep experience with Him and His Glory, they are now covered over by hardened black-tops; flattened to make life “easier” for those who travel their way.
Over time, the focus of our “Sundays” has become about the preferences of man. The songs of praise and worship, once lifted up with a blend of man’s voice and creation’s sound under blue skies, has been remixed on the modern sound boards of this day to drown out the genuine heart cries of old, and to amplify the reverb and effects that make for a “stirring” moment. The beauty of the created sky has been replaced by the cool ambience generated by low-level lighting dancing upon thin layers of white smoke. Nature’s seating (tree stumps, large stones, the ground itself) has been unanimously overruled for extra-soft chairs covered in spill-proof cloth. The fountain of living water has been drained, removed, and replaced with the newest Keurig and assortment of blends that usher in true worship. The desire that Jesus Christ be exalted has morphed into man’s desire to be pleased. So much so that if the latter isn’t happening, then man will uproot themselves and go searching for a place that will accomplish the feat. See man is willing “to go”, but only for what he values.
There is one path in this game, with multiple destinations in play: The Path of Preference.
The path of preference is a path that is driven by desire. Every step taken down this path is a step that has answered the call of a desire. Though one path, two destinations are possible: Freedom to Serve, and Freedom from Service.
When our preference is for Jesus Christ to be exalted, we will ignore the sound boards, and listen for a genuine heart cry to the Lord…resulting in a truly “stirring” moment. When our preference is to display Jesus Christ to the world, we will forgo the love affair with our comfort, and instead be so in love with Jesus that we walk as He walked, one sacrificial step at a time. When our preference is to worship the King how He was meant to be worshiped, we will “empty” our hands of our cozy mugs, and ‘out’reach each other in embracing suffering for the sake of His name. When we walk this path of preference, we will find ourselves resting in the Freedom to Serve.
When our preference is for our earthly desires to be gratified, we will get frustrated when our ears aren’t pleased with the audible sounds of worship, and we’ll cry out for the sound board to mute the problem. When our preference is to be comfortable, we will murmur when we are challenged, complain when we are stretched, and protest when we are called out. When we walk this path, we will inevitably end up finding ourselves resting in the Freedom from Service.
Desire is the fuel that puts the “go” in our steps. As Christians, we are to encourage our brothers and sisters in the faith down the path that leads to the Freedom to Serve. The decisions we make will fan the flames of their desire. Either we will, with the Spirit’s leading, encourage our people to rest in the Freedom to Serve, or in the Freedom from Service.
As we walk down the Path of Preference, may our preference birth in us a shining for Jesus, and in so shining, a desire to serve.