For years I struggled with the idea that God desired praise. It seemed rather self-serving . . . and pointless too. Why tell God what he already knew?
Then I began to think of it in the context of intimate relationship. Adoration is an act of requited love.
When you love someone, your deepest desire is for them to love you back. That is what God wants too. In fact, He looks for ever-renewing first love (Revelation 2:4).
Adoration happens when we turn toward Him in love. We don’t have to come up with flowery phrases—we express how we love and appreciate Him. We turn our affection toward Him.
God is not interested in flattery. He wants to be known and understood. He wants those He loves so dearly – us – to love Him back.
Genuine love is emotionally intimate. That intimacy will continue (and grow) throughout eternity. I used to be concerned about heaven. It felt like the descriptions of heaven implied a certain distance from God—a lack of personal interaction. I worried I would just become a miniscule part of a crowd of millions.
Then one day I was touched while reading Revelation 2:17b: “I will give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” Think about the intimacy of that promise. We will be with Him as an individual; He will tenderly give us a gift of love; He will affirm our personal identity with a new name; together we will share something that is just between us. Isn’t He amazing?
Similarly we will have something to give back. Ever wonder about that image of the elders casting their crowns before Him? What is the value of a reward you do not keep? Those rewards give us something we can give back to Him. Even mutual gift giving can remain part of our relationship.
So in heaven we will experience the joy of community but also continue to have individual, intimate encounters with Jesus.
Our great privilege is that we can begin to experience that now. In adoration, we can turn to Him in love.
You can set your mind toward noticing what God does during the day and express appreciation to Him for it. If it feels awkward at first, you can begin by praying the words of worship songs and hymns. It counts as adoration if we pray in love, “Be thou my vision O Lord of my heart.”
May He truly be the love of all our hearts.
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