Lent Worship Lifestyle 1/5 (Ritual)
|For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (1Timothy4:8)|
If you think about Adam and Eve's failure, they ate the fruit of the tree "to be like God." This is the opposite of worship.
In stark contrast, the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness culminated in Him resisting the temptations of Satan which were to act like God (turn stones into bread), to make God serve Him (make the angels catch Him if He jumped from the temple roof) and to enthrone someone else as God (bow and worship Satan rather than obey God and go to the cross). In Matthew's Gospel the temptations end with Jesus stating: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."
Lent is all about worshipping God and God alone.
On Sunday we introduced 5 watering cans that "water" a life of worship. I'm going to deal with these over the next five days.
The first of the watering cans is ritual. Rituals (or habits) are a powerful tool to prime our hearts and minds to focus on God. There are the well-known rituals of daily times of prayer, regular Bible-reading, and going to church.
But there are other things we can do... John Ortberg, who suffered from the rush and burnout I wrote about yesterday, adopted a ritual of picking the longest line at the grocery story. Doing this reminded him that he was not so uber-important (I'm not God - I can wait). He would use the time to pray for people around him and make kind conversation with those around him. It was an antidote to the rush-addiction of his soul and placed God firmly on the throne.
Another friend added watering his garden in the cool of the day as a ritual and it became a place of de-stressing and a place of prayer.
Rituals, become habits and habits can transform our thinking. Paul likens the discipline of physical training to the practice of godliness. The word he uses for godliness implies a lifestyle and mindset. It involves a set of behaviours and practices along with a way of thinking. This includes positive rituals and habits.
What simple thing, if your did it regularly for three weeks could powerfully impact your head and heart and point them to God???
It is easy to get side-tracked and make Lent about our fasting and our doing - we can make the rituals an end in themselves instead of being a means to worship. But at the end of the day it is not about us and what we do, but about Him.