A summary of how to live

Sometimes I wish there were a simple five-step manual on how to live life. There just always seem to be so many choices. I mean, some choices are obvious. But other choices, the choices between something good and something else good, are hard. And there’s nothing that tells you what choice is better. Because even though both choices are good, one of them has to be the right one and the other has to be the wrong one. Right?

In any case, I wish the Bible could just sum everything up in one convenient pacakge, every choice I’d have to make and every reason why. And that way, I would know for sure that I’m making the right decision.

But the Bible doesn’t really do that. The Bible gives us hard, concrete facts about how to live but it doesn’t go into specifics like that. It tells us to make the good decisions, but when it comes to choosing between two good options, we have to pick one and trust that God will work it out either way.

If there were a passage in Scripture that summed up how to live, I would say it’s this one, Ephesians 5:15-20.

 15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today’s verse is actually Ephesians 5:19-20, but I wanted the whole context. This is Paul writing to the Church at Ephesus. I think it’s interesting because even though this was written like 2,000 years ago, it’s still relevant to us today. Even the language is relevant. The Bible isn’t into 12-step programs, but if it were, this would be one.

I’m going to focus on verse 19 and 20 since that’s actually the verse of the day, but it’s also the one where something stood out to me. It says to sing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves.” Isn’t that interesting? Isn’t it interesting that it doesn’t say to sing them out in the world so everyone around you can hear it? Not saying we shouldn’t do that either. There’s another verse that says when Christ is lifted up, He will draw all men to Him.

But this verse says we need to sing and worship and praise among ourselves. And if not among ourselves, in our own hearts. Why?

Well, I can tell you there’s nothing quite like singing a song to God when you’re singing beside a roomful of other people singing the same song to God. If you haven’t experienced that . . . . Well. You need to.

Can a Christian and a non-Christian sing a song together? Absolutely. Will they be singing to the same person? Absolutely not. Someone who isn’t connected to God through Christ with the Holy Spirit can’t understand what it means to worship God truly.

I’m not really an emotional person. I mean, I am. No matter how much I usually try to deny it, I’m still a girl. =) But I usually try to remain logical and rational when making decisions. But even I am overwhelmed with the experience of worshipping God with a group of people who love Him as much as I do.

It defies explanation.

I can come before God feeling weary and exhausted and unhappy. Everything can be going wrong. And when I worship Him, when I tell Him how great He is and how thankful I am for what He’s done in my life — and especially when I do it in a group of people who are telling Him the same thing — I leave feeling refreshed and excited and strong. I don’t know why pouring my heart out to God in song and prayer can rejuvenate me. Maybe it’s because I get my focus right and I fix my perspective and I remember what it means to truly belong to Him. I don’t know. I just know it works.

And worship isn’t just about singing. Worship is a lifestyle. But if you’ve never experienced real worship in song, it’s something you need in your life.

I wasn’t planning on putting this in here, but if you’re in the Wichita area, consider this an invitation to attend a Judgement House praise and worship service at NewSpring church. I guarantee, you will never experience anything else like worship at NewSpring. It’s exciting but orderly. There’s no chaos. There’s no ridiculous flailing that draws attention to a person. But there is a spirit of excitement and joy that I’ve never felt anywhere else. And God is given the credit and the glory because He’s the one who deserves it. Any worship service at NewSpring is worth attending, but if you really want to experience real worship in song, you need to come to a JH service. It’s the core of the church, the really radical folks who sacrifice and give to God because they love Him more than anyone else. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week, it starts at 5:30. Sunday it starts at 2:00. If you’re close (and if you’re not) come on by and worship with us and thank God for everything He’s doing.

And keep Ephesians 5:15-20 in mind today. I know I need to. I get so wrapped up in life that sometimes I forget how to live.

Don’t be foolish. Make the most of every opportunity. Think before you leap. Understand God’s will for the day. Don’t get drunk. Live by the Spirit. Worship and be thankful for everything.

That’s how we’re supposed to live.