Fragrant blossoms were spread out like confetti among plumes of emerald greenery. Sparkles of light bouncing off flowing water could sporadically be seen through gently swaying branches. All this beauty, and the babbling sound of a hidden brook, beckoned me to leave the well worn path and venture further into this lush sanctuary of peace and tranquility. I could envision sunlight, angels rays dancing warmly on my face as I quietly prayed and worshipped by the brook. Not three steps in and I was pulling the remains of a spider’s web from my face. A few more steps through the shrubbery and I was swatting away at a swarm of tiny flying menaces. Taking a seat on a mossy stump near the water, I soon discovered it was home to a community of ants. Finally, on a large, sun warmed rock in the middle of the brook, I was able to experience holy respite and worship in the midst of my wild surroundings.
I am sure you can relate. Your soul thirsts to be refreshed and replenished daily. You endeavour to leave the busy comings and goings of life to spend time in the hidden place of quietness and holiness with the Lord. You start to read the bible, pray, and meditate on scripture, and your mind, however, is immediately confronted with a myriad of murmuring, wild, distracting thoughts.
“O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved. How long shall your wicked thoughts lodge within you?” Jeremiah 4:14
Stephen Charnock wrote, “We bear in our own bosom a nest of turbulent thoughts, which, like busy gnats, will be buzzing about us while we are in our most inward and spiritual converses. Many wild beasts lurk in a man’s heart, as in a close and covert wood, and scarce discover themselves but at our solemn worship.”
What are you to do about this? You need to acknowledge that this is a reality. It also helps to know that you are not alone. All true worshippers of God experience this. The penalty of sin is death. For the believer in Jesus, however, it has graciously been removed through the death of Christ in our place on the cross. Although, by faith we have been made a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), sin’s residual influence and distractions remain in us. Under the light of God’s presence during worship, areas of latent, sinful inclination (relating to our old way of living) are often most noticeable and annoying. Rather than allowing such pesky proclivities to hinder your enjoyment of God, take every sinful thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:4-6) and crush it by calling to mind the sin-killing power of Christ’s righteousness and resurrection on your behalf. Continue to pray in this manner until you pray the pestilence away; and worship, until you worship. Soon you will be refreshed, seated securely and peacefully on the Rock (which is Christ), basking in the warmth of his goodness and grace.
Thanks for meandering along with me.