Most of us have experienced the cold shoulder; and most of the time, we know exactly why we are receiving it. If the relationship means enough to us, we seek to resolve the issue so pleasant interactions can resume; otherwise, the rift widens.
H.T., a brother in Christ, recently asked in a Wednesday night devotional, “Life is about change…How has your worship changed?” It stung. Why? Because I’m afraid that my worship, after ten years of being a disciple, may still sometimes strongly resemble what it was soon after I put on Christ. Growth should be apparent to me, and I confess that there is less of it than there should be. So, what does this have to do with the cold shoulder?
When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. (Isaiah 1:15)
Simply put, if I feel like I’m getting the cold shoulder in worship, it’s my own fault. You reap what you sow; you get out what you put in. The Lord wants worship to be meaningful to us; He wants us to grow in it, to develop a deeper understanding of its purpose and power. But it can’t happen if we don’t do out part.
Part of “our part” is having our lives in order. How? God follows His “cold shoulder” warning above with nine simply stated (though incredibly challenging) suggestions:
Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:16)
When these God-like characteristics begin to permeate our lives, then the Lord will again give His ear to our prayers and remove the cold shoulder.
God, give me strength to remove my evil deeds and pursue the justice, mercy, and goodness you desire to see in us so that there may be open, unhindered communication between us. Amen.