I’m genuinely concerned about the covenant clash that exists in the church in the area of worship.
We say we know that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit and that of course we know that He dwells within us, but at the same time, we are asking God to show up, and doing what we think we are supposed to do to get His presence to come. When did it become our responsibility to get the presence of God to show up? How many services have you been in when the worship leader is asking for God to “rend the heavens and come down”?
A culture has developed that is the result of what I would describe as a toxic mixture of old covenant law and new covenant grace, due to a lack of knowledge of what we already have in Christ. The only truth that will set us free is the truth we know, and many are perishing for lack of knowledge.
So, a fair question then would be, “well, what is truth?” Truth is the Word of God according to what Jesus said in John 17:17, “Thy Word is truth.” And Jesus went on to say in that same verse that the truth is what will set us apart. We should be “standing out” from the way the world is living life and stop trying to get to God, but realize that God came to us in Christ; He is the one that already has given the Spirit of God to be in us! As a new covenant worshiper, this is our starting place and the place which we live. We are the place of His presence.
There really is a better covenant with better promises and a better way to worship and it is not a toxic mixture of trying to mix law and grace together and ask God to bless it!
I see so many people who are laboring to enter into God’s presence instead of into His rest!
So much of modern worship has reduced the presence of God down to a feeling. Here’s how it works; If I feel God—if I feel His presence, then He is here, He is present, but if I don’t feel Him then it’s up to me to labor to get Him to come, and I determine that He “showed up” by my feelings.
God is not missing in action! God is not the one who needs to show up; it’s us!
I’m sure you’ve been in a gathering where most of the musical portion of worship is spent trying to get God to show up, and then when the worship leader feels that has happened, usually towards the next to last song, it’s time for the announcements.
This pattern has turned into frustration for many people to where they have stopped trying and complacency has become the unfortunate outcome. The fruit of this way of thinking results in those on stage feeling the need to inform and inspire those in the “audience,” instead of God’s way of thinking which always results in transformation. Spirit and truth transforms, and when this foundation is in place within leadership, those on stage let Jesus take the spotlight through them. They see themselves as a part of the church, wiping out the “us and them” attitude that happens when the platform sees them as an audience and when the people see those on stage as those to be admired instead of equippers and facilitators. When worship in spirit and truth is happening, instead of “charismatic karaoke,” every believer learns how to make melody in their hearts to the Lord, and worship becomes a lifestyle instead of a musical style.
Instead of trying to get what we already have—and laboring to enter the presence—we need to learn how to labor to enter into the finished works of Jesus.
Just before Jesus died, He declared out loud that, “It is finished.” The price was paid, the old covenant was fulfilled, and almost immediately the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom! I believe it was a prophetic picture of the new covenant being separated from the old covenant law, as Jesus became the way, the truth, and the life, and the only way to the Father. There were soon to be temples all over the world, but of course, no one knew yet!
The Word that became flesh, the body of Jesus, was about to be buried as a seed so that the body of Christ could manifest. So much new was happening. There had never been a “body of Christ” before now. The church—you and I, as believers—would become the place of His presence. What was outside was about to move inside, so that we could become brand new creations, living from the inside out for the first time in history! Now being the place where the Spirit of God would abide and never leave us or forsake us! Now being the place, where out of the abundance of our hearts would flow rivers of living water, where the presence of God would be flowing out from us! This is what brings transformation.
This is true for us personally and individually, which means that we can manifest the presence of God anytime and anywhere. This is also true for us collectively as we gather together as the body of Christ, the church. Can you imagine what would happen if when we gather together, we each had a revelation of Christ in us as the hope of glory, and that we are the ones who can manifest that glory of God, that presence of God, that life of God, from the inside out?
In order to be a part of this Third Great Awakening, we are each going to have to awaken to the life and spirit within. It’s time to know who we are In Christ, who He is in us, and what we have been given through the finished works of Jesus.
There remains a rest for the people of God. God provided it by grace, but it is received by faith. It takes time and it takes effort to “enter into that rest.” We are so used to striving through our own works of the flesh.
So, how do you know if you have entered into that rest? You know you have entered into His rest when you have ceased from your own works. Here is a profound truth that I have learned from the Holy Ghost.
You will either labor to enter into His rest or you will labor at all the rest!
We need to stop wasting time by trying to get what we already have! We are to redeem the time and be bold kingdom witnesses on the earth today, living this life as a living sacrifice.
My own righteousness is nothing but filthy rags without Christ. I’m not qualified on my good works or my goodness!
We need to stop doing our own thing and asking God to bless it and instead be so filled with His presence that we are tuned in and active and responding to His voice. His Word always contains the blessing. Jesus didn’t spend all night praying with the Father just so that He would feel better! His business was kingdom business, and He knew that He was the place of His presence. It was from Him that He did the works that He did, and Jesus said we would do the same works.
Why have we settled for so much less and seem to be okay with it? Why is our expectation based on what we are seeing in our world around us instead of in His Word, by the spirit?
Can I propose to you that what has been modeled is not laboring to enter into His rest, but laboring to enter into His presence? So what does that laboring to enter His rest look like, practically speaking? Well, I think it looks like spending less time on social media! So many of us are wasting time on our phones, being distracted with things like Facebook, instead of getting our face in the book!
It might look like less TV time being entertained and instead valuing our mind being renewed with the Word of God and our souls being restored as we are led beside still waters. We may need to make a choice between pleasure and entertainment or renewal and restoration. It might look like learning how to “cast our stress on the Lord” instead of trying to manage an overloaded heart and call it normal.
Learning to trust in the Lord at all times just might take some work.
God has given us the ability, the grace, to choose how we want to live. God told us to choose life and He sent Jesus to give us a life that can be more abundant and above and beyond what we could ask or think, but we have to decide how we want to live. We have to put action to what we say we believe.
God is not just “God with us” anymore, even though He is; now He is also in us and He wants a daily relationship with us that results in communion and fellowship with the Holy Spirit 24/7.
As you awaken to the life and spirit within, not only will you be transformed, but those around you will as well, whether in gatherings with other believers or out in the highways and byways.
The harvest is ready, are you?
Daniel Amstutz, Director of Charis Worship, Worship Arts School & Healing School at Charis Bible College is a seasoned, ordained minister and a published songwriter and recording artist. He holds a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from the University of Colorado and a bachelor of theology degree from Christian Life School of Theology. Daniel is the president of Daniel Amstutz Collective, Inc., a non-profit that connects generations in spirit and truth. He is an incredible teacher who loves to help people live set free through the Word of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Daniel and his wife, Tracy, have been married for over forty years and have two children and seven grandchildren.
For more on this topic, read Daniel’s book, The Place of His Presence.