Worship as Habits of Helplessness

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)

Life with God is totally different from anything else in our lives. For all other things, we learn the basics, then grow in skill and proficiency until we have mastered the task. Then we use that skill to enhance our lives and the lives of others.

Hand in Water by Ian Espinosa-311604-unsplash
Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

But life with God does not work like that. Our posture in our life with God is one of reception, for everything we have is a gift from God. Therefore, growing in our life with God involves becoming more aware of our innate helplessness so we can receive more from God.

Throughout his letter, James, the brother of Jesus, continually emphasizes humility. Not content to simply set it before us as a virtue to which we should aspire, James digs deep into the human soul to reveal what is feeding the roots of our prideful, self-centred striving. It is our desires.

In his book, You Are What You Love, Canadian philosopher James K. A. Smith writes that we are shaped more by what we love than what we think. He also indicates that worship is the key to change for worship has the power to shape what we love.

I love doing my own thing and getting my own way. Countering my inherent self-centredness requires cultivation of habits of helplessness where I voluntarily lay down my skills and giftedness, my wants and desires, and I invite God to come and work in my heart. He shows me the weeds of pride and insecurity that need to be dug up by the roots again and again. He continually shows me that He is my Protector and Provider, so I do not need to try to fulfill those rolls on my own.

Resting in His love, I once again pick up the tools God has given me and, this time, I use them as He guides me. I don’t need to use them for any personal purposes, for God has already given me everything I need.

All these internal changes in me happen in worship. Worship re-centers, re-directs and re-energizes my life, and I need it regularly and often.

Dear Father in heaven, please show me how the patterns of worship in my life need to be changed so that my love for You grows. Help me to develop habits of helplessness before You. Amen.

1 Comment

  1. Your article was a blessing, never thought of it from that angle……I need to remain helpless before God, not operating in my own strength and ambitions….thank you.


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