Anyone mind if I go a little left of left field for a while?
I’m a singer, as most of you know. And I feel a little weird about it. You know, that half-hour before you go on … all the mental/spiritual gymnastics you go through. At the top of the list is the knowledge that without the Holy Spirit, your performance is pretty much a waste of time. I use the term ‘performance’ loosely. I don’t mean to imply ‘that which is not ministry’; in fact, this is what I’m blogging about: is everything we do ‘ministry’?
I ask this question because things FEEL different. Last week I told a friend, “This is ridiculous. The fact that I’m psyching myself up to sing makes absolutely no difference to my state before God. I’m not more-forgiven or more-righteous than I was twenty minutes ago, just because I’ve focussed.” And that’s the crux of it. Which is the real Christianity? Is it the psyched-up-ness when I feel “in the zone before the Throne”? Or is it the mere everyday mechanics of a life lived under His influence? ‘Cause it feels like there’s some rule that says, you will not be anointed tonight unless you attend the prayer meeting – and it must be a NOISY prayer meeting – and say and feel all the right things. Which, if you look at it baldly, isn’t too far from “insert coin, extract can”.
Now, I’m not disputing the fact that a performance feels smoother after directly spending time with God. But positionally, nothing has changed. Do I have less of a chance of imparting something spiritually nourishing if, say, someone collars me in my back yard and asks me to sing them a song, than if I’ve done a day of prayer and fasting before singing at a festival event? Does God do exceptions, or does He only do consistencies? Or does He just please Himself? I find Him faithful, yes, but never consistent. 🙂
I once asked David Holmes if the anointing was something you had to earn. He said, rather cryptically, “No, you can’t earn it – but you can pay a price for it.” I’ve been wondering about that ever since. It sounded to me like, no, putting in “the hard yards” in prayer isn’t where it’s at, but if you do put in the hard yards, you’ll be surprised. Or perhaps he only meant, you can’t work up a sense of God’s presence in other people, but your own sense of His presence will cost you something.
I guess part of what I’m wondering is, what kind of relationship did the Bible people have with God? We hear about, say, three conversations over a 90-year lifespan. Did people like Abraham have daily one-hour Quiet Times, or did they intersect with God now and again when something came up? It was his faith that impressed God, not his regularity.
David seems to have had quite a dramatic, emotional relationship with God. I must remember, everyone from Moses onwards grew up memorising the Torah. To them, God was woven into the fabric of every single day. … Which I guess answers my question. It’s not that He’s ever far from my mind; it’s just that I get distracted by daily chores and suchlike. It’s not like we include Him in four-way conversations, as we would if He wore flesh amongst us again. No. The only time we talk to Him in a group is when the group isn’t conversing internally. We call that a prayer meeting. Sometimes a NOISY prayer meeting. 🙂