Sometimes the things that seem like they will make our lives easier and more efficient are the very things that can steal our purpose and passion right out from under us.
God’s desire has always been to draw people from all nations into His eternal household. But, “doing church” (or, in this case, "doing temple") got in the way of that purpose in the lives and practice of the people of God. Addressing the people in Jerusalem, Jesus quoted from the book of Isaiah and said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.’” (Mark 11:17) When the people came to make sacrifices at the temple they had to bring animals, or grain or whatever was needed. This proved to be quite an inconvenience for those who had a long way to travel, so they developed a system of exchange right at the temple. People could simply bring money and “buy” what they needed for sacrifice “onsite.” This made things much easier for many people, but it began to radically change the nature of temple activity. It became a kind of commercial traffic jam, rather than a place of worship and intercession for others.
Sometimes the things that seem like they will make our lives easier become the things that divert our attention and rob our peace. To the people – those who were to become the church – Jesus was saying remove everything from your corporate worship that distracts from the heart of worship and ministry care for others. The gathering of worshipers needs to be a place of communion with God where God initiates His purposes among us.
When you come together as the church, the house of God, focus your heart on worship and prayer for others.
Are you willing to evaluate your focus this week?
Please consider committing your worship gathering to God in prayer.
Does this idea have personal application?
I believe so. We must remove the inner distractions from our lives that keep us from being individual houses of God. He wants to commune with us and to use us to pray others into the Kingdom. Many of these distractions do not look bad or evil at first glance. They may be things that seem like they should help us to do the things of God more easily and effectively. These might be things that are intended to create more free time, or things that promise to meet our emotional, social or entertainment “needs.” But they amount to nothing more than clutter. They often serve as robbers of our time and communion with God, and they hinder us from fulfilling His purposes.
Are you willing to ask God if there is anything in your life that He would like to turn over and remove from your mind or practice?
If so, simply pray and ask God to identify any distractions. In response to what He reveals, are you willing to make the necessary changes?
Wanting to be a clean house within God’s clean house with you,
~ Coach Tom
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