Come, Let Us Adore Him.

Do you adore Jesus?

I was asked this question three years ago in a room with a few hundred other women. My immediate thought was, “No. I do not.” And each year following, I have asked myself that same question and every year, my response has been the same. And it has bothered me, mercilessly. The question itself angers me because I know the answer. It hasn’t changed. I hate my answer, because I desire the opposite to be true. And then I become angry with myself because I don’t know what it looks like to adore Jesus. I just know that I haven’t adored Him.

For the most part, I’ve managed to ignore the question. But each time I’ve heard the word “adore”, over the last few years, I’ve grown quiet…guilty. It might just be that someone has used that word while referring to a pair of shoes or their spouse, but whenever I’ve heard it used, in the back of my mind, I hear that question again and it has still bothered me…until recently.

Do you adore Jesus?

A few weeks ago, I was working through an advent study with a friend and sure enough, that word popped up, yet again. And I finally came to the point where I had to wrestle with two things. The first is that I needed to learn what it means to adore Jesus…and do it. The second is that I needed to reconcile the issue of feeling guilty about not adoring the one Person who came to earth to remove my guilt and shame. Oxymoronic, isn’t it?

This wrestling caused me to do some research and reflection. The results of those items are what I’d like to share with you here. My hope is that they will be a catalyst in your desire to worship and adore Jesus or at least motivate you to do so. May what I’ve discovered be an encouragement to you during whatever season of life you are in right now.

If you Google the definition of the word “adore”, this is what you will find: “love and respect (someone) deeply; like very much; worship; venerate”. This was my starting point. The word itself stems from Latin origins meaning “to worship”. “Adore” is not found in Scripture, yet it has a significant and profound impact on our relationship with Christ. Or, at the very least, it should.

So, what does it mean to adore Jesus? Well, simply, I believe it means to love Him and to worship Him, reverently, and with abandon. But what does that look like?

Bob Bakke, a pastor in the Minnesota area, and the same person who asked me that nagging question three years ago, shared a sermon from John 12 about Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Just prior to Jesus’ betrayal and death, Mary did the unthinkable. She came into a room of men, let down her hair (something not done by women in those days unless in front of their husband alone), broke open a bottle of perfume (what many scholars believe was her dowry / a year’s wage’s worth), and soaked Jesus’ feet with it, bathing His feet in the process, and wiping His feet dry with her hair.

Why? Why would she do something so absurd, so radical, so humiliating? Because she adored Jesus. Bakke states that Mary’s actions that night “risked her entire future on ten minutes at the feet of Jesus”. Doesn’t that thought make you stop for a moment? It’s crazy! In a matter of minutes, Mary gave up everything that secured her future, just to be with Jesus. But that’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? At the very heart of worship lies that word we don’t like. Surrender.

Would you give up everything for just a few moments at the feet of Jesus? Your house, your savings, your health, your community, your retirement plan, your children (or your desire for children), your belongings? What is it that you hold most dear? Would you give it all up for just a few minutes at Jesus’ feet – to worship Him in humble adoration?

I know that I don’t possess the ability to surrender like that in my own strength. Not even close. But what I do have is this: a request from my heart – to help me surrender like that, to help me want to worship like that, to help me adore Jesus like that. And the amazing truth is that when you ask for those things, from a place of true humility, Jesus meets you in your willingness and desire.

As I pondered earlier on the beauty of Mary’s adoration, humility, and surrender, I asked Jesus to make my heart and mind desire precious time with Him and to help me adore Him like Mary did. In the minutes that followed, with tears streaming down my face, I came to understand that to adore Jesus is to worship Him. To marvel Him – Who He is and what He’s done. To adore Jesus is to love Him. And to love Him is to obey Him.

To worship and adore Jesus does not mean that I read my Bible and ask God for all of the things I want and check that off my to-do list for the day. It means taking the time to listen for His voice and to hear from Him, obeying what He says. To worship Him is to spend time in His presence. Worshipping and adoring Jesus can be radical and it can appear absurd, like David dancing naked before the Lord or Mary’s anointing of Jesus’ feet. In that moment, nothing else matters; not other’s thoughts or scorning words. Just Jesus. Only Jesus. Actions of adoration, perhaps viewed in the eyes of the world as insanity, may just be what changes the world. As Bakke suggests, “There is no telling what divine scheme we may be initiating, what you may be initiating, what mysteries may be unfolding, what enemies we may be defeating when we simply give ourselves for the worship and adoration of Jesus”.

Adoration begins with worship.

William Temple shares the following statements on worship:

1. Worship quickens the conscience by the holiness of God.

2. Worship feeds the mind with the truth of God.

3. Worship purges the imagination by the beauty of God.

4. Worship opens the heart to the love of God.

5. Worship devotes the will to the purposes of God.

If we want to really adore Jesus, worship is where it starts. We recognize His holiness, we read and meditate on the truth of His Word, we spend time in awe and wonder of His beauty, we are humbled by and receive His love for us and those we cannot love in our own strength, and we obey His will for our lives.

Do you adore Jesus?

If not, I hope you have found a place to start – with a humble request and the desire to worship Him like Mary did. And what better time to start than this season of Christmas – the season of miracles – where Jesus was humble enough to become a helpless baby, to be born in a manger, to leave the joy of the throne room of heaven to come to earth, knowing He would die a torturous death. For you. For me.

If you are in need of practical suggestions, like myself, I would gently encourage you to start this way. Find 30 minutes in your schedule. Turn on your Christmas tree lights and turn off the other lights. Read John 12:1-7 and meditate on it as you listen to the words of this song, based on Psalm 130.

I Will Wait For You (Psalm 130) by Shane & Shane

And then wait for Him. Worship Him. Give time and space for Him to speak to you. I can tell you from experience that if you wait long enough, you will indeed hear His voice. And it will be worth every moment spent in the waiting.

This Christmas season, don’t wait until another day to adore your Saviour. Start right now. Quiet your heart. Worship Him in honesty and humility. If you don’t know what to say, tell Him that. But absolutely refuse to move until He meets you where you are. He is worth your veneration, your respect, your love, your worship, and your adoration.

My prayer is that when you attend church this advent season and you find yourself singing the words, “Oh, come, let us adore Him”, you truly know what that means, because it’s something you’ve chosen to do with intentionality already. May you join with the shepherds and, in your heart and mind, go to Bethlehem to behold Him, the King of angels. May you always be in awe and wonder of the King of your heart. May you, today and forevermore, adore Jesus in full surrender, with joyful obedience, and total abandon.

You’re Always There When I Need You

Have you ever heard it said, “Life is hard and then you die”?  I have…a lot!  And although there have certainly been times where I have believed that to be true, I’ve also wondered if it really is.

My life has been considered to be a “hard life” at times by previous counselors and psychiatrists, but I don’t see it that way.  Have I had challenges?  Absolutely.  But who hasn’t?  We all have something that we struggle with, sometimes on a daily basis.  Life IS hard.  It’s true.  But your attitude towards it can make monumental impacts on you, on how you want your life to “turn out”, and even on other’s lives.  You have the power to choose to see the joy, even gifts, in each and every day.  You!  But are you strong enough to actually do it?  Are you capable to seeing past all of the “negatives” that fill your mind?  This may be cliché but it’s true: If I could do it, you definitely can too.

For those that don’t know me well, I was diagnosed with ADHD and OCD and Anxiety Disorder – all within this past year.  And although that may be surprising to some, it actually came as a blessing and relief to our family.  It’s been a very difficult journey in our home and on my immediate family.  Even close friends and family are unaware of the turmoil I have placed on my husband, children, and even myself.  But I don’t end there.  That is NOT my story.  Because it’s when you remember who you truly are, before all of the psychological labeling, that really matters.  Me?  I’m a daughter of the one High King of heaven.  I’m made in His image and He calls me His child!  So although the life I may have has been “hard”, it’s also been an opportunity.  To learn.  To grow.  To see and to feel things I never thought possible.  To become more and more like Him – each and every day – regardless of my circumstances.

I recently watched a movie scene where a leader took his self-help group out into the middle of a busy street (imagine New York), and they just stood there.  Every person in that group got very tense.  Horns were honking, people were shouting rude expletives, and motioning the same with their hands.  The group wanted out.  They felt stuck, in the way, the problem, and in a way, they were.  But then the leader took them to the tallest building running along the same street, where they proceeded to the roof.  They looked over the skyline and were amazed by the views.  Their reactions changed.  They were no longer scared, stressed, anxious, or tense.  They were relaxed.  The relief was evident on their faces and in their entire posture.  Then they looked down to the very spot they had been standing only minutes prior and it seemed significantly different.  They felt as if they had some control, they were no longer in the chaos.  Although nothing had really changed on the ground level – cars were still honking, people were still shouting, and there were more people running through traffic – they now had a different view of the situation.

And that’s how it is with God and being His child.  Your life may be incredibly stressful and chaotic, but He can help you see past some of those things and live life to the fullest, regardless of your current life events.  Trust me, I know some of the feelings of stress and chaos.  For some very strange reason, God thought it would be good, beneficial, and even wise for me, somebody with Entomophobia (fear of insects/bugs) to not only live with a variety of bugs and spiders, but also mice, bats, and (what we thought were) bedbugs – BUT – God is merciful, and they were “only” batbugs).  But the fears, stresses, phobias, anxiety, and panic attacks that ensued from those things certainly can cloud one’s view.  When you are in the middle of it, you can’t see above it.  And with my ADHD brain, I can’t even begin the process of trying to see above it, to choose to be thankful – in EVERYTHING?!?!  (1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”)

That’s where the even harsher reality sets in.  Not only are disciples of Jesus asked to rejoice ALWAYS and to give thanks in ALL circumstances, He also asks us to be content.  WHAT?!?!  (Hebrews 13:5a – “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…”)  Oh, that is so, so hard to do – if we only see things from our current view.

So how do we see things from a different view?  From God’s view?  From an eternal view?  (Colossians 3:2 – “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”)  I think the answer is somewhat cyclical; it’s in the previous verses – rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks all the time.  Scripture says in Psalm 37:4 to “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  This does NOT mean that He will deliver you from your current situation or that He will hand over to you what you want.  Because to truly delight in the Lord means to find your entire peace and fulfillment in Him alone.  And when you do that, you leave no room for the desire of extra.  There’s a reason Jesus also said in Luke 10:27, “Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your strength and with ALL your mind.”

I would add to those the verses from childhood:

  • Philippians 4:13 – I can do ALL things through Christ which gives me strength.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 – TRUST in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.

It comes down to a choice, a decision, to wake up each day (or go to bed each night – even if you have to take medication to help you sleep) and trust in Him…even in the right now.  1 Timothy 6:6 – “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Sitting at a Wal-Mart McDonald’s this evening after a particularly difficult few days with my daughter, setting straight some behavioral issues, and contemplating on whether or not my responses have been the right ones (and dealing with the oh-so-continuous guilt that comes with not being the best/perfect mom), she looked up at me and asked if I could wipe the Ketchup off of her arm.  As I did the “mom routine” once again, she looked up at me, smiled, and said, “Thanks, mom.  You’re always there when I need you.”  Apart from having my emotions ripped out of my chest in public, 🙂 I realized just how profound that statement was.  (My daughter teaches me theology every day – and I’m so grateful for it!)  Because the second part of Hebrews 13:5 is what makes the change of view possible.  “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”