As of late, I have been struck by the lyrics of worship songs that I have been singing with our students, to the radio, and to my Lord. Last week, I was captivated by the hip-hop break by Lecrae in Hillsong Young & Free’s This is Living, and last night at our High School student’s midweek service I was, again, captivated by Bethel’s single: Have it All. I will be returning to this song in a few moments, but first want to discuss the act of worship itself.


I admit that when I was younger and further back in my walk, I did not like to sing. I did not find corporate worship interesting or worthwhile. I was disengaged from such acts, but somewhere along the way something changed. Namely, I found a sense of rhythm and learned how to sing as close as I could to being in tune with whomever was leading. More importantly, I had a change in my understanding of why and how we worship God. Fundamentally, God is so much more mighty than we can ever know, and is loving beyond our comprehension. It is not because of this that we worship, we worship because, for myself, know of no more intimate means by which to convey my appreciation for who God is! We worship God because we love and adore who He is, and because our hearts, as believers, cry out to Him. As a Creator, God came before all things, before material existence. He stands before everything from a vantage point that I cannot even being to imagine.


Try imaging the world as we currently know it, can you picture every peak? How about the depths of the sea? Are you able to comprehend the vastness that is Earth? I know that thanks to my travels across the world that I have a pretty firm conception of distance, but I cannot form a fully imagined picture of the entirety of all that makes up this world. Try again picturing the universe, I begin to struggle once I leave the solar system. That doesn’t even begin to mention Milky Way, or the incalculable numbers of galaxies that extend beyond where we currently suspect the edge of the universe to be. Yet God created it, everything. From the smallest, indiscernible grains of sands on the beaches we so fondly flock to when the weather gets warm to the most mundane meteor that moves about aimlessly throughout the universe, God proceeded and perceives it all. How great is that? I find myself awestruck by such things. Below is a photo I took a couple weekends ago in the heart of Texas:


What you don’t get it see in this picture is the lightning that was visible on the horizon. I was near Austin and in the distance to the southwest was a thunderstorm. This particular storm cell was rather small, but the incredible thing was the storm was close to the Texas border with Mexico. Despite such distance the skies above me were illuminated by the lightning that repeatedly crisscrossed the horizon. I am unable to comprehend or imaging the sheer power that is possessed by a bolt of lightning, yet I am able to witness it and be captivated by the One who created it. Putting into perspective just how vast, mighty, and great God is, I can now being to more fully appreciate why I worship. Bethel’s song, Have it All, goes as follows:

You can have it all, Lord
Every part of my world
Take this life and breathe on
This heart that is now Yours

Oh the joy I’ve found
Surrendering my crowns
At the feet of the King
Who surrendered everything

Oh the peace that comes
When I’m broken and undone
By Your unfailing grace
I can lift my voice and say

You can have it all, Lord
Every part of my world
Take this life and breathe on
This heart that is now Yours

There is no greater call
Than giving You my all
I lay it all down
I lay it all down

There is no greater love
No higher name above
I lay it all down
I lay it all down

Having sung this song, having looked at the lyrics, and having felt the conviction of the Spirit this week regarding the essence of this song bring me to a place of reflection, I have to ask, am I honestly and genuinely giving everything to the Lord? How often do I enter into the presence of the Lord and sing songs of praise when I have not first checked my own heart? Am I raising unclean hands before my God because I have failed to set aside the things that I’ve placed before God? Ultimately the question that lingers, are my priorities right? Or am I clinging to my crown which I have no true claim to as I reach out to God with the other? Undoubtedly, all believers must face this question multiple times throughout life. Despite the cliche, the different seasons of life each of us face pull us in many directions. Our time, energy, efforts, and desires change in response to the season. If this were a perfect world, our priorities would remain constant, yet this is not a perfect world. So how can I, in good conscience, sing about letting God have “it all, every part of my world” when I put something else before getting into the word? I cannot! When I do not remember to pray without ceasing, how can I claim that I’ve given everything to the Lord? My life is not my own. I did not create myself. I did not create the atoms that make up my very essence. I did not create the systems which keep my body functioning. So how can I claim my life as my own? Obviously, the selfish sinful man that is myself can, but I know better. The lesson which I have had to learn, as many of us, is making sure that my priorities are in the correct place. As a student I have to make sure that I have prioritized my assignment, reading, and essays into the proper order or risk having to stay up overnight for a week to catch up. Thus I have no right to put anything before God in my priorities. I can sinfully and pridefully build up my own kingdom and present it the Lord with an unclean heart and say, “Look what I built, God. Look at what I’ve done.” How foolish would I be? Honestly, despite where I am in life, can make foolish choices. Fortunately, I make fewer and fewer the older I get. And so as I continue to pursue the Lord, it is my prayer that I continue to keep the perspective that my life belongs to the Lord.


One thought on “Shifting Priorities: A Retrospective

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