On July 21/2020, my wife and I “celebrated” our second anniversary. I quote “celebrate” because in the midst of the COVID-19, everything is closed or just opening, so we had no plans. But I did manage to get her a couple small gifts and we ordered in some dinner. Sadly, there aren’t any good movies out, so we couldn’t even find anything to Pay-Per-View.
Anyway… While I was in the shower the other day singing a worship song by Third Day, I was thanking God for my wife. Marriage is definitely a blessing, one I do not deserve at all, but I am grateful. And with so many divorces in the world, even in the church, I wanted to share a very important responsibility that a man has.
Of course, Apostle Paul gives a responsibility in Ephesians 5:25-26 where “men are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church and gave himself up for her.” We are to “Wash our wives in the water through the word.” All of this is very important, but what came to mind is from Proverbs 31.
Most know Proverbs 31:10- “A wife of noble character… (is) worth far more than rubies.” While non-Christians believe that the Bible tells women to remain barefoot and pregnant as the saying goes, that’s far from the truth. Feel free to read Proverbs 31:10-31 to get a great view of godly women.
But I want to share on the role of men. Men are only mentioned three times.
A Husband’s Responsibility
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” (Proverbs 31:11, 23, 28-29)
Do you see that the husband has a responsibility to “praise” his wife? We can discuss the difference between “praise” and worship, whereas we are commanded not to worship anyone but God alone. But to “praise” is to lift up someone; emotionally, not necessarily physically.
To the men: When was the last time you said to your wife, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all”? Maybe not in those exact words, but you ‘praise’ your wife for what she does.
Men, we need to praise our wives. With so much “main stream” television and the stuff that pops up as advertisement on the Internet, women shouldn’t have to compete. Everything has sex or sexual innuendos these days which makes it so difficult to even find something to watch.
Tell your wife that she is beautiful. Complement your wife’s cooking. Say those three words your wife needs to hear, “I Was Wrong” and “You Were Right”. I joke (but seriously). Or the three words, “I Love You.”
To paraphrase what Jesus says in Matthew 15:18, “Out of the mouth, the heart speaks.”
I’ve felt it and I’m sure you have too. It’s hard to worship the Lord when watching my church service online from home. It’s not like being at church and worshipping in the midst of a lot of people. Much like when we watch a sporting event or the evening news, we can become a spectator to an online worship service rather than a worshipper of the Lord God Almighty.
What if this “virus crisis” isn’t over soon? How can we change from being a spectator to an “online worshipper”? The answer may depend on what we consider being an “online worshipper”.
For example, how did Paul and Silas become worshippers of God while in a Philippian jail cell with their feet locked in the stocks? This was right after they had been beaten with rods. The Bible says they were praying and singing hymns at midnight and the other prisoners were listening to them. How could they worship in those awful circumstances? There was no worship band, no hymnals, no worship leaders. They weren’t even comfortable at home in front of their TV, but in a hostile environment instead.
I believe it’s because they had learned to be “online worshippers”. They had learned to tune in to the worship service that goes on in heaven and never stops. See Revelations 4 for more about that worship service. Regardless of their circumstances and where they were, they were able to pull away from their environment and focus on their audience of One. Rather than seeing just themselves, they were able to see the rest of heaven that they were joining in worship. They were going online in a spiritual sense.
This is what our Christian family must do in countries that are hostile to the gospel. If they are caught, they will be beaten, fined and jailed. So, they must worship quietly, sometimes in strict silence, but going “online” in their hearts and minds to join the heavenly worship service that never ends.
How can we learn to worship earnestly, a/k/a “online” like Paul and Silas and our spiritual family in hostile countries? Primarily, we have to learn that worship is a matter of our heart. Jesus has to be someone more than we just know about. He has to be someone we love and that we long for. If He isn’t that for you, pray right now and ask Him to become that for you. Then make it your goal to live like He is your “first love”. If you want me to explain more about that, let me know at email@example.com.
Beyond our heart, here are some other practical suggestions:
Put away your phone, tablet and anything else that may distract you. You wouldn’t be messing with them while trying to worship God at church. Don’t do it while worshipping at home either.
If you stand up and worship at church, stand up at home.
Sing when its time to sing. Don’t just watch others sing. Your audience of One is watching you. He’s not listening to how good you sing. He’s listening to your heart and mind.
Prepare for online church. Just like you would go to bed on time and get up in time to shower, shave, eat and then drive to church, don’t stay up late the night before binge watching Netflix. Get to bed and get up on time so you have time to prepare to be ready to participate in online church without distractions of a hungry stomach, morning breath or bed head.
If you have kids, help them to prepare too. Talk about how you are looking forward to worshipping Jesus during online church. Share that all of you are going to act like the people on TV are actually in your house visiting you. If your kids are really young and must have attention, give them your attention. Hold them and worship like you would if they were sitting with you at your normal church service.
The Lord willing, the virus crisis will end soon, and we will resume going to our churches to worship. Perhaps this time of “online worshipping” will help us learn to push out distractions that we can avoid. Perhaps we will learn to focus on worshipping the Lord despite distractions that we can’t avoid. Finally, perhaps we will learn to go online no matter our circumstances or wherever we are to join the worship service that never ends.