This past week, I was reading a bit from the writings of the Quaker Thomas Kelly. He lived between 1893-1941 and his writings are profound. When he was a student at Haverford, he spoke confidently to the professor, saying, “I’m going to make my life a miracle!” His life became a treadmill of exhaustion until he had an experience with Christ that changed everything. Once he encountered Christ, his focus shifted from striving to developing an awareness of Christ within him. He wrote, “Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center… to which we may continually return.” He went on to say, “the secret places of the heart cease to be our noisy workshop. They become a holy sanctuary of adoration.” (1)
I’ve been thinking about Kelly’s words all week long. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” (1 Corinthians 6:16).
What does it look like to make our souls a sanctuary of worship…
- When you’re changing diapers and the house is a mess?
- When you’re tired and grumpy because your teen is arguing?
- When you’re fighting cancer?
- When you’re facing deadlines and work that feels impossible for your brain?
- When you’re elderly and your body aches all over?
While there are no easy answers, I believe there are a few practices that can help remind us that we are the sanctuary of the living God and that we are called to live a life of worship.
3 Practices to Help You Cultivate a Lifestyle of Worship
1. Cultivate Rhythms That Will Sustain You in the Long Journey of Life. Looking back, I am so thankful that both Steve and I developed the pattern of meeting with God every morning individually for prayer, worship, and Bible reading. The simple practice of meeting with God first thing every morning has sustained us through the difficult trials of life. As I have faithfully met God each morning through the years, I’ve learned to hear his voice and bow my will to His. When I meet Him first thing in the morning, I am able to enjoy His presence throughout my day.
In addition to meeting with Him in the morning, as I lay down, close my eyes, and get ready to sleep for the night, I thank Him for His faithfulness throughout the day. It is a reminder as I drift off to sleep that I am held secure by His almighty hands.
2. Learn to Live Life on Two Levels. Thomas Kelly also talked about this. On one level you might be teaching school, but on another level, your soul is whispering a prayer for wisdom. You might be working at the office on a deadline, but on another level, you are thanking God for your co-worker. You might be changing diapers, but on another level, you are thanking God for your child. When you learn to live life on two levels, you’re able to carry on a continual conversation with the Lord.
3. Rediscover Jesus. There was a season in my life that was quite dark. It felt like God had abandoned me even though He had not. I remember making the strategic decision to lay aside every presupposition about Jesus and start fresh in the gospels. For four years straight I read through the gospels and studied the life of Christ. Honestly, I fell in love with Jesus all over again! When you rediscover the majesty of Jesus and the depth of His love, you can’t help but fall on your face in worship.
Friend, our lives are to be a journey of holy ascent to worship at the feet of Jesus. Remember this week, you, yourself, are His sanctuary. Make your soul a place of holy adoration by cultivating rhythms of worship and prayer, learning to live life on two levels, and rediscovering the majesty of Jesus.
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(1) Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith, Devotional Classics; A Renovare Resource for Spiritual Renewal, (San Francisco, CA,: Harper San Francisco, 1993), 173-174