Arms Raised

Have you ever stretched the truth in church before?

The question may probably weird you out. Stretch the TRUTH? In church? How incredulous! For fellow Christians, that's unheard of. You would never twist, bend, or mutilate the truth in church.

But I have. And I think in some strange moment in our lives, we all probably did.

One of my favorite parts of Sunday service is Praise and Worship. It always often starts with an upbeat song, and depending on the band, it can range from hardcore rock to dancey pop tunes. People would REALLY get into it, singing praises! Arms wild up in the air. Others jumping up and down a la mosh pit. And then you hear the lyrics..."All for the One whose love's for all/ He gave His Son to save the world/ We your people are gonna stand and lift Your Name so high..." followed by  "So I offer my life unto You/Offer my heart's adoration/all my worship to You...." 

Wait a minute. Did you say ALL? Offer MY life? Did you mean offer my life...everything? As in all of me? Meaning "all-of-me-without-my-cellphone-or-house--or-parents-or-dogs-or-facebook-or-career-or-health-or-money-or-all-the-things-I-love-so-much" of me? Wait a minute, Lord. Can we pause that song for a second? Uhm, all?

And then you look at the people's faces in church. No one seems to be fazed. Arms held up high, eyes intently get the picture. Wow, they seem to really put this to heart! I wonder if the opportunity should come that I really have to give up everything and offer my life, I would with the same fervor and feeling as my singing. 

See, I am not what I call an "arm-raiser". I know a lot of Christians are, and I truly admire them for publicly declaring their love for the Lord. It's a personal preference of mine but I totally have nothing against it. We all have our different means of praise. In my most intimate of moments, when all I hear is the keyboard playing and the vocalist's voice, the most I would do is clutch my hand close to my heart. I would whisper, "Lord, You are awesome and powerful and mighty, and you completely rock. This relationship is between You and me. Thank You for giving me the energy and time to come here and worship You today." 

And the lyrics? We've heard it all --- offering our lives to and for the Lord, that He is all we ever want. But is He ALL we ever want? Sometimes, admittedly, when I want God, there are days that I also want a hot venti orange mocha from Starbucks, money to pay off my car loan and to lose ten pounds in two weeks. So I feel that sometimes I may exaggerate a bit when I sing in church. Jon Acuff called it 'overcommitting' in worship. I call it exaggerating. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with it! We're probably not there yet, but eventually, that's where we want ourselves to be.

Reflecting about it a little bit more though, reminded me about Job and how his faith never wavered. He lost everything but remained steadfast for the Lord.  Which brings me to my prayer to Him:

 I am not be in a position yet to give up entirely everything for You. I still want many things that I know someday will be gone. But these songs inspire me to remember that in this world, You are all we are ever gonna need. Change my heart that way, that I may see things clearly and mean what I say --- every single word of them, as I listen and sing songs of praise.

And yes, finally, I have mentally raised both arms while saying that.

"For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it."  -1 Timothy 6:6-7 

"Men cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful. But no one says, 'Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches more to us than to the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the air?'"    Job 35: 9-11