Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Attending Church: The Place We Get Perspective

PSALM 73:25: Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”

Take another look at today’s scripture. Remember this is the language of prayer. Asaph, the author of the Psalm, is talking to the Lord. And what a prayer! Right now, in our lives, attitudes, priorities, goals, desires, and pursuits, may we look to heaven and pray this to the Lord? Would we be able to cry out such sincere words to the One who knows our hearts? I can understand if we might be a little reluctant to say,“ Absolutely. My heart towards the Lord matches Asaph.” But don’t lose heart if we are somewhat sheepish praying this prayer. Asaph arrived at this point. He didn’t just wake up in the morning and “presto”, the Lord was the dominant and chief affection in his life. No, and to see how he got there, we must go back to the beginning of his Psalm.

Asaph opens up his Psalm with a conflict in his heart. He proclaims God’s goodness to His people but then gets his eyes off the Lord and onto people; wicked people, a people not of the Lord, worldly people. That in itself is a powerful lesson to remember. Get our eyes off Christ, put our focus on other people, especially those who seem to prosper more than us and nothing good ever happens. Nothing. And for Asaph? Here are the results which will be the results in our hearts as well; the sins of envy, jealousy, complaining, and “woe is me” (Psalm 73:2-15). He is in a very bad place spiritually, yet, a change is about to come, a very good change. And it all began with putting himself in the place to get the right perspective on people, life, and God Himself–But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end(Psalm 73:16-17).

The importance of faithful attendance to the gathering of God’s people in what we may call our “local churches” cannot be overstated. It is the local, visible congregations of God’s people that are His primary means of reaching the lost, growing His children, and proclaiming His glory to the world. Yes, it takes on different forms, but it occurs in times of persecution and not. God’s people gather and we cannot justify our absence or downplay the importance. In the New Testament, the Greek word for church (ecclesia) is used 114 times and 109 of them refer to local, visible, gathering of believers. Here is where we receive instruction, mutual encouragement and help. For Asaph? It was where he got “calibrated” about life and what is most important. And he went from the sins of envy, jealousy and complaining to be able to proclaim the Lord was his everything to satisfy Him in all of life.

So, to pray like Asaph we must be instructed like Asaph. Be faithful to church. Be faithful to be under the preaching of God’s Word. Be faithful to worship with His people. It is there God promises to meet us to teach us and reveal Himself which always produces a heart satisfied in Him alone. Then, and only then, may we pray like Asaph-Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

PRAYER: “Father, show more and more of Yourself that I might marvel more and more over who You are.”

QUOTE: “The highest mark of spiritual maturity is when we may pray today’s scripture and our lives reflect it.”

Because of Him,

Pastor Jim