In my "Journey To Excellence" (my new year plan), this month focuses on Excellence In Worship. One of our favorite worship choruses in our church is "Sanctuary". The words to this small but powrful chorus are:
Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and ture
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living
Sanctuary for You
Nothing stirs up a spirit of worship more than singing together in church a beautiful song dedicating our life to the Lord, a life of devotion and a sanctuary for Him to dwell in.
But...excellence in worship, takes it a step further. Farther than the church sanctuary where it 'feels good', and into our daily life where we must be prepared to be a sanctuary. Let's break it down:
Lord, prepare me, to be a sanctuary - There is nothing good in us. We are all sinners by birth, born with a sinful nature. Through God's grace and forgiveness, we are cleansed and made new and given a new nature. But, that old, sinful nature rears up in our life time and time again. A sanctuary is a sacred, holy and pure place. Somewhere holy and pure. Only God can prepare our hearts to be that sanctuary - "Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me."
Pure and holy, tried and true - We are made holy by the forgiveness of sins by our Lord. Daily, we are able to approach Him for forgiveness and cleansing - "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." We can be pure and holy as we strive to do His will and when we fail, confess our sins. Tried and true. This is that process that may involve trials that pefect our faith. When we face circumstances that are hard, do we endure? Do we grasp our Lord and allow Him to walk with us through the trial, working out the things in our lives and strengthening our faith in Him? "The testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1. He will not fail us and is able to make us 'tried and true'.
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living Sanctuary - for You - Giving thanks produces a grateful heart that recognizes and appreciates the blessings and transformation that comes from the Lord. As we walk through our days, lean on Him in times of trouble, let Him perfect our faith, we become transformed by Him. " I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1-2.
So, as that beautiful little chorus we sing becomes a part of our heart and life, the grip of sin and self slips and we allow His holiness and purity to change us from the inside out. Our heart is a sanctuary - a holy place where He dwells. Our worship changes from a song to a lifestyle. And it is a beautiful thing!