I think it’s safe to say 2020 hasn’t been the year any of us were expecting. Between a global pandemic and the growing awareness of racial injustice, we’ve all been isolated and alone with our thoughts—which has contributed to a lot of anxiety, stress, and feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. I know I’ve felt emotionally overwhelmed by it all. There are so many things happening in our world, and it feels impossible to know how to help or what to do. Can you relate?
As I’ve been processing current events, I keep coming back to these two verses:
Learn to do right; seek justice. … Isaiah 1:17 NIV
… the Lᴏʀᴅ has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NLT
God has told us what to do. Those ingredients—do what is right, seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God—are good. They’re required. But I’ve been wondering: How do we seek justice and love mercy?
To me, seeking justice often feels like someone getting what they deserve. But mercy feels like letting someone off the hook when they don’t deserve it. I’m more likely to want justice for others but crave mercy for myself. But when I realize what Jesus has done for me—dying for my wrong choices when I didn’t deserve it—I see the perfect picture of someone living both justly and mercifully, bringing grace and truth.
And so I’ve wondered, how can I bring both justice and mercy to others? I think it’s by doing the third thing: walking humbly with God. It feels like humility is one of the first things I lose when I disagree with someone. Pride quickly swoops in, telling me that I’m right and someone else is wrong. Humility, though, reminds me that I don’t have all the answers, but I have access to the One who does.
And it’s important to note that walking humbly with God doesn’t mean I’m exempt from action. I think just the opposite. Walking humbly with God doesn’t absolve me from action but often informs and directs my actions.
So how can I walk humbly with God? I’ve been feeling such a strong need and desire to worship. Even in the unknown. Even in the uncertainty. Even in the chaos and darkness. Because when I’m emotionally overwhelmed, I have a choice to focus on my problems or bring my praise to God anyway.
A few weeks ago, I got to go back to church in person for the first time since the pandemic began. And as I sat in the auditorium, worshiping with my church family and my own family, I saw little kids worshiping, and I started weeping because of the power and the beauty of worship. When we come together, we know God is with us. And I could feel His presence so clearly in that room, reminding me that we’re all broken people who don’t have it together, coming before the One who makes us whole.
My worship pastor invited us all to “worship in our weakness,” and I realized that when I’m emotionally overwhelmed, I find my strength in surrendered worship. So, if you’ve also been feeling emotionally overwhelmed, I want to invite you to worship anyway.
Here are a few ways we can worship:
1. Worship in our weakness.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling pretty weak lately—pretty worn out. But when I come before God in my weakness, I’m reminded of His strength, and I regain a sense of wonder at who God is and how He’s always working for our good—even when we can’t see it. As He promises us in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 TPT:
… “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.
2. Worship when we’re worried.
As Pastor Craig talked about recently, we can fight our worries with the power of praise and prayer. Worship won’t always erase my worries, but my praise gives my problems a new perspective. Just look at what Paul wrote about this in Philippians 4:6 NLT: Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.
3. Worship with our lives.
We know that we are supposed to give our full lives to God as an act of worship according to Romans 12:1. So that means that every part of our lives are meant to give God praise. The words we say to others are worship (which makes you want to choose your words carefully, right?). The way we seek justice for others and on behalf of others is worship. The way to extend kindness and mercy by listening and loving others is worship. Right now, there are a lot of words being said on social media and in conversations. And it’s tempting to respond quickly and cuttingly. But let’s take time to listen, remembering the love we’ve been given. Check out these verses from Colossians that might give you a new perspective in this season:
You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. Tolerate the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ. If you find fault with someone, release this same gift of forgiveness to them. For love is supreme and must flow through each of these virtues. Love becomes the mark of true maturity. Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of his one body. And always be thankful. Let the word of Christ live in you richly, flooding you with all wisdom. Apply the Scriptures as you teach and instruct one another with the Psalms, and with festive praises, and with prophetic songs given to you spontaneously by the Spirit, so sing to God with all your hearts! Let every activity of your lives and every word that comes from your lips be drenched with the beauty of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. And bring your constant praise to God the Father because of what Christ has done for you! Colossians 3:12-17 TPT (emphasis added)
4. Worship through work.
All of our work is worship, when we recognize that we’re doing it for God, not for people (see Colossians 3:23). Even our work that feels wasted or doesn’t seem to make a difference. When we work to bring about justice, to extend mercy, and to walk humbly with God and others, we’re worshiping.
Because our worship renews our wonder. And that wonder removes our worries, takes off the weight, and gives us a way forward. So, what can we do when we’re emotionally overwhelmed by a broken world? We worship when we’re weak, when we’re worried, with our lives, with our words, and with our work.
And if you’re feeling an urge to do something, I want to give you a quick list of next steps you can take. Everything feels overwhelming right now. But I’d encourage you to pick one thing. And then next week, pick another. Ask God what your next step is. And trust Him. Worship Him. He will lead you to your next right thing to do.
Resources & Next Steps:
- Want some new worship music? Check out Life.Church’s newest single, Heaven’s All Around.
- Need some hope? Check out Pastor Craig Groeschel’s Midweek Services here or listen to Not Afraid and God, Help Us Unite.
- Looking for some next steps to help bring about racial justice? Check out this article here.
- Curious about some other ways you can connect with God? Try out this podcast.
- Feeling overwhelmed by news of the global pandemic? Find some fresh perspectives here.
- Wondering what the Bible says about worship? Start here with this Bible Plan from Life.Church Worship.
- Ready to build some empathy as you practice extending mercy? Listen to people different from you. Find those people in a LifeGroup.
- Start worshiping with others at one of our Life.Church locations. Find a location near you, and discover the safety precautions we have in place to keep your family safe.
- Worship God by serving others at one of our campuses or at one of our Local Mission Partners.