Last Sunday I introduced a definition for what we mean when we say that “we worship Jesus.” I defined Christian worship as “our all-of-life response, empowered by the Gospel of Jesus, to who God is and what he has done.” This morning, my aim is to build on that definition by applying it to our personal lives, commonly referred to as our “home-life.”
From the outset, let me say, James K.A. Smith’s book“You Are What You Love”, has been extremely helpful to me as I’ve prepared for this exhortation and I am indebted to him for the inspiration for much of what I have to say this morning.
Now, as I think of our home-lives, I have in mind the recreational activities we enjoy, the things we celebrate, the people we choose to spend time with, and the primary space in which we cultivate our loves as we dream, hope, and plan for the future. To be human is to have a forward-moving orientation. We are always moving towards our goal of attaining our understanding of “the good life.” If we were to close our eyes and take a few minutes we could easily imagine how we think about the good life. Whatever that picture is for you, that is the functional Sun in your life, around which all the rest of your thoughts, decisions, and actions revolve.
If asked, I anticipate that most of us here would say that the Sun in our life is God, and that our lives are ordered around him; but the burden of my exhortation now is to audit our hearts and, by the Spirit’s help, help us see areas that our hearts and lives need reordering.
We order our lives around not what we think is important, but around whatever captivates our hearts. Smith calls this order the “hum” of our lives. It’s the background noise to all that we do. The wallpaper in every room of our house. Practically, how this plays out, is in our homes (whether with our spouse, our kids, or our roommates), we have rhythms and routines that define our days. Using Smith’s metaphor, these rhythms are the hum, and they are attuned to whatever it is that we desire most. Whatever you most deeply desire is made known in your daily life and habits. So, take a moment, and think about what your typical day looks like, and consider what your preoccupations and activities say about yourself. It’s a humbling thing to do. For me, I realize that I really desire comfort. Or, I think about the things that my mind drifts to as I day-dream: a bigger house, taking my wife, Hilly, on an exotic vacation, or acquiring new things, but rarely do I marvel at God’s power or goodness, or pray for the work that he is doing throughout the world and ask that he would further engage me in his mission. I think about the people I choose to spend my time with and realize that I predominately only have the same close friends over; only very seldom do I reach out to new people because I love my comfort. Of course, if asked, I’d tell everyone that “I love Jesus more than anything. I am captivated by Jesus alone. I order my life around him completely!” But, when I’m honest, far too often my habits, rhythms, and routines say something a little different.
To say Christian worship is “the ordering of our entire lives, empowered by the Gospel of Jesus, to who God is and what he has done”, is the equivalent of saying what we said last week, that worship is “our all-of-life response, empowered by the Gospel of Jesus, to who God is and what he has done.” In order of either of these definitions to be true of our lives, we need to be re-captivated by the glory of God and a hope beyond this world. We need our home-lives to be reordered to reflect the priorities of God and his kingdom. We need the hum of our lives to be retuned so that the sound of all of our thoughts, decisions, and actions would beautifully harmonize with his gospel. We need Jesus.
Let us pray.
We cannot reorient, reorder, and retune ourselves by our own efforts. By your Spirit, who is alive in us, you must do the work. That’s why we say that our worship must be empowered by you, so be pleased to up-root the dreams of the “good life” that any of us hold that are devoid of you. We want our homes to be places that are buzzing and humming with your glory, your mission, and your purposes; we want for those who don’t know you to see you not only through the profession of our faith, but in the ways that we have ordered our lives. Ultimately, God, we want to really, earnestly love you. And we do love you, Father, and we ask that you would give us the grace to love you more. We know that if we regard sin within our own hearts our prayers will be ineffectual, so in silence we confess our sin before you now. . . .