Renew Your Focus: How to Not Be A Rubberneck Christian
Do you think if God raised someone from the dead during your congregation’s worship service you would see it? Would the only reason be because you were the one looking for something to go wrong and you saw the person die, first?
I know, some of you feel obligated to go through worship services doing anything but worshiping the Lord. You say there’s someone acting inappropriately and it distracts you from seeking God’s presence. But, your problem is not the distraction, it is the direction in which you are looking.
Some of us just can’t look away. We have not sought to renew our focus on Jesus Christ. We have instead fixed our eyes on the wrong person during the time of worship.
And if there is anything truly distracting in worship is a group of people distracted in worship. You tell me as the pastor, “Of course it doesn’t bother you. You have your back turned to the person.”
I could answer right back, “Of course that’s true but did you know I am also turned so I don’t see you. Yet, I hear about the way you roll your eyes during worship and the way you smugly stare at the ‘inappropriate’ person and your distracted state is contributing to the hollowness of our worship.”
What if we all humbled ourselves before the Lord and bowed our heads in worship? What if we closed our eyes and began to pray instead? What if we took our Bible and focused intently on following the message of the sermon?
Could you forsake your furtive glances or outright stares in any one direction?
I don’t know of a single preacher who would mind if a parishioner got caught up in the words of the Scripture and had their own zoned out time with God during the sermon. I wouldn’t mind at all. You could even stay seated in your pew as the congregation stood for the closing hymn because God was downloading something into you that was going to change your life.
But, many of you will never have that experience. God is not going to change your life next Sunday. Why? You’re not looking to God for a change – at least, not in you.
The easiest way to remain unmoved, stagnant, and stale in your relationship with God and in worship is to seek the Lord to change others before He changes you.
Right now, decide for yourself, “Next Sunday, I am going to…
- Thank God for my neck and for the God-given ability to turn it in a different direction.
- Thank God for my eyes. Through them I can read the Scriptures and with them find someone who is seeking the Lord during the worship hour. With my eyes, I can find someone for whom I can appreciate the work of God or be motivated to begin to pray and intercede.
- Thank God for my ears and mind working together, converting the sounds of the hymns into messages of grace and joy for me.
- Thank God for my hands and for the bulletin insert, sermon outline. I can take notes and turn my focus to filling out the lines of the message given to me from heaven.
- Thank God for my posture and facial expressions and how I express my preoccupation with Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit rather than what anybody else may or may not be doing.
Thank God right now for the power to resist the temptation to rubberneck during the worship service. Thank God for the entire worship space and how God will give you somewhere good to set your focus this coming Sunday.
Thank God you know how to close your eyes as well as open them.
Thank God you will enter into worship at the entrance of the service and not wait for conditions to be right. Conditions may never be right. We don’t worship or love based on the conditions. Otherwise, we could never worship the Lord.
Our only hope for letting go of our ill will towards others or our paranoia about how others feel about us comes when our fear of the Lord exceeds everything else. Reset your focus on the joy of the Lord. Fix your eyes upon Jesus or fix them on no one at all.
Quit being a rubberneck Christian.