I was visiting a craft store today, looking for some material to work with as a hobby. I couldn’t believe the rows and rows of felt, foam, beads, jewelry, paint and almost every other medium you can imagine. I was struck by how many different choices we have each time we walk into most stores – especially a hobby store. And if you want something remote control – well, you have boats, cars, planes, helicopters and all the new types of drones.
I also went to the office supply store to purchase some photo paper. I was amazed at the number of choices that I had. Glossy paper, satin finish paper, all kinds of sizes – and then there was the question of what I wanted to print. The questions just went on and on – I had to really drill down just to understand what my choices were.
It seems that the world is becoming more and more complex that way. The options we have in virtually every area of our lives defies description. If you don’t believe me, just think of how many different makes and models of automobiles we can buy! It’s almost endless.
And why are there so many choices for us? Because people are wired differently and we all are searching for the perfect solution to whatever issue we are dealing with. Very few of us are immune from this effect. We have our own likes and preferences for virtually every corner of our lives. In fact, if things don’t get presented to us the right way, we choose not to engage much of the time. We even have Netflix and all kinds of on demand programming so we don’t have to wade through the commercials. And people must be buying or some of the choices would just go away.
So how does all this impact the way we connect with God? For starters, since God created us he already knows all about us. So this doesn’t come as a surprise to Him. And since we are all different, God, in His infinite wisdom, has created a number of options, or spiritual pathways, for us to commune with Him. When I was in seminary, we studied the various types of pathways that connect us to the Father. And while several of them don’t necessarily appeal to me, there are others that I completely embrace.
Solitude, silence, music, community worship, prayer and nature are the pathways that most people consider when they look for ways to connect with God. If you have ever been energized by seeing God’s creation, you may be one of the people that is quick to connect with God through His creation. Many people who enjoy the outdoors find this way of communing with the Father most rewarding. Listening to music and joining in community worship are similar pathways that energize God’s people.
Silence, solitude and prayer are quite different in the ways that people approach their relationship with the Creator. Notice that these pathways are more individual and are generally not done in a group. The absence of noise – silence – can be particularly attractive to those who are listening for a word from God. And solitude, while not necessary silent (think noises in a forest on a long walk), is the pathway of choice for many individuals who would rather have their interactions with God occur in a more private environment. Prayer, of course, comes in many different forms. There are arrow prayers (a few words shot heavenward) and long, drawn out prayers that include elements of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.
Perhaps you can identify the ways that you prefer to connect with God as a result of learning about these various pathways. In any event, we are all created by the same God, but wired to commune with him in various ways. Our verse for the evening comes from John’s account of his interaction with God in the book of Revelation. John experiences a vision and near the end of the book, we are led to the conclusion that it doesn’t make any difference how we worship – we are just to worship…
John tells us, in Rev. 22:8-9, “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” That’s great advice, isn’t it? Just worship God.
My encouragement tonight is that the way you worship doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you enter into a relationship with the Father and His Son. My prayer is that you will consider the various ways to connect with God and that your relationship with Him may be enhanced by the active practice of several of these spiritual pathways. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…