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Photo by Alex Woods on Unsplash
By Tammie Southerland 

The Worship of a Burning Heart

It is the presence of God that changes people—not our services.

“One thing I have asked from the  Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the  Lord  all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple,” (Psalm 27:4 NASB).

Even in all of David’s failure, he resolved his life to one thing; just one thing. I mean, he was a king! He just asked to dwell in the house of the Lord, gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and meditate in His temple for the rest of his life.  

When we sit in an atmosphere of pure authentic worship, not mere musical entertainment, we are transformed and begin to hunger for more. He is drawing us into deeper proximity to His heart. He longs to take us into a place where we’re not just looking to gaze upon the next big thing; the next thing that we want, or something that will feed our flesh. He’s training us, our generation, to learn how to focus our hearts on things of His Kingdom and focus on Him like we never have before! Right now, the Lord of Glory has released a spiritual desire to catch us up into a place where we will begin to long for that one thing that we never knew existed.

That One Thing

This man, King David, before Messiah was sent, gained the revelation, that in all of his setbacks and in all of his successes, it boiled down to setting his life focus on “one thing” (Psalm 27:4). This one thing consumed all else. All he wanted was to gaze on the beauty of THE LORD all the days of his life. He longed and desired to build a dwelling place for the Lord in the land of Israel. He was ruined with the holy desire and insatiable hunger to solely look at the beauty of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He knew there was a King that was greater! He knew there was a Lord that far exceeded his own lordship. David wanted to give the rightful King the throne above His own.

In Psalm 110:1 he declares, “The LORD said to my lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’” In Matthew 22:44, Jesus quotes this verse in a discussion with the Pharisees in order to prove that the Messiah is more than David’s son; He is David’s Lord and David knew this deeply.

I believe with everything in me that there is a depth of the holy, beauty, fire, and of holy hunger in which David longed for, that is for available to us. David could only prophesy of what we have access to in Christ today. The Father wants close proximity to mankind. He wants closeness in a way that we can’t imagine. I believe our level of pursuit of this closer proximity to Him actually determines the level of our tangible intimacy with Him.

If we’re not willing to come close, then we will always be standing on the sidelines looking at others who are coming close and saying, “Why not me?” He did everything that we ever needed Him to do when He came down and gave His life for us. He died, resurrected, ascended and gave us full access to be filled with His own Holy Spirit so that we could to come close. That part of the work is finished. We just have to hunger and drawn near to Him. We must ask for more than we have at this present moment, every day.

You Don’t Need An Instrument to Worship-You are One!

David had 4,288 musicians and singers set up day and night, playing songs in intercession and worship in a tent (See 1 Chronicles 16). This non-stop atmosphere of worship must have been powerful. Even though it was his personal desire, David stored up money and materials his whole life for his son, Solomon to build the temple because God told David that it would be his son who built it (2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 28:3). I have personally longed for the same things as David but I understand legacy! I want to build a place for the Lord. I want to gaze on His beauty all the days of my life! I want to host His presence day and night in my city. I want to see Him King and Lord over my city, state, nation, and world! I believe this is His desire also and just as David was able to host Him in a tent, so can we—but in a much closer way! 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” We have the glory of God ever-present in and with us in a way that King David merely dreamed of. The Spirit and the presence of God Himself has made us His temple. When He poured out His Spirit in Acts 2, He put Himself into us so that we could be in non-stop communion with Him. We don’t have to have an instrument to worship, because we are one.

We Are the Sound!

I believe God wants us to know that we are the sound! You and I are His instruments of worship!  If you haven’t experienced encountering Him outside of church or a service in which someone else is leading you into worship, just ask, and get ready! Surrender and entering into a depth that we’ve not previously experienced calls into learning how to be okay with awkward, silent moments.

As soon as we get comfortable, He is going to make us uncomfortable because there’s more. There is a higher place of knowing Him that we are going after. As soon as we think we’ve got it figured out, He is going to show us that we don’t, because He wants us to get into that place of lifelong increasing revelation of Him. We were created to be in constant communion with Him; now and for eternity. This means we get to learn more of His unsearchable beauty forever. The angels that are seated around the throne are constantly saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come” as they look upon His beauty because they are in a place of revelation all of the time (Revelation 4:8). They never get bored and life around the throne never gets mundane for them. I am amazed that He created us to know Him and gain even greater revelation of Himself than the angels in heaven (1 Peter 1:12; 1 Corinthians 6:3).

In order for us to be able to ascend into that place of knowing God in a greater way, than even the burning ones around the throne of God-we have to begin to hunger for more than a mental understanding of the written word of God.  The spiritual revelation of His heart, mind, and character are essential elements to knowing Him personally.  Prayer, scripture study, worship, being still and listening for His voice are important disciplines in the life of the follower of Christ.  All of this develops depth into sustainable spiritual growth. The angelic hosts of heaven know His amazing holiness is real and unsearchable. We too must know that there is more than cerebral knowledge of Him. The experience of knowing Him spirit to Spirit is extremely important. He’s given us the ability to know His worth and power contained in “The Word” who is the person of Christ.

Silencing Distractions Could Take us into Highest Place of Wonder

Some of the most powerful encounters I have ever had with the Lord happened when I forced my mind to be still. I turned off all of the electronics, and yes even the music, and listened for His whisper. It takes a little while to learn to be still in your mind and tune your ears to His voice in this crazy world, but it’s a discipline of one who hungers. Prayer both in tongues and in the your native language is powerful and should be a practiced daily! I encourage you like the Apostle Paul to pray in the heavenly language of intercession (tongues) often and for, at the very least, 20 minutes a day when you are starting out. I also encourage you to learn the discipline of being still and listening to His reply.

Truthfully, as we learn the discipline of living life in His presence and in prayer, we learn how to abide in Him and He in us (John 15). We will begin bearing Spiritual fruit in abundance. We will be able to sit in a room with absolute silence or in a room with crazy chaos and be with Him. We can learn such a lifestyle of proximity to Him that we can be in a place where others are leading a worship gathering and we are on the floor helping bring people closer to Him without touching a stage or microphone. We will learn how to abide in our heavenly seat that Paul talks about in Ephesians 6:2, “we are seated with Him in heavenly places,” and we become fully active in our HOLY spiritual existence.

As we live this way, we are made free of being dependent on another person to take us into His presence. We just abide there. The supernatural grace of God is falling upon His people right now in such a way that we are able explore places of His heart  that no other generation has known. He has given us access, but He has also called us to lay down the distractions and cares of the world on a daily basis in order to enter into this place of deep relationship. Many have been so frustrated with their life and relationship with God recently. This is because He has been allowing the rubbing, pressing, and stripping away of temporal pleasures to prepare us for the deeper knowledge of Him. We must know that there is a greater responsibility to carry out the plans of His heart as we begin to understand the deeper revelation that He’s giving to us.

“The Lord our God has secrets to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.” (Deut. 29:29, NLT)

“When someone is given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted  with much, even more will be required.” (Luke 12:48, NLT)

Is Your Heart Burning?

And no, I am not talking about the kind of heart-burn that is caused by what you ate for dinner! That’s acid reflux. 🤣

The kind of burning I’m talking about causes true pleasure in knowing the Lord personally and knowing that He knows you inside and out!
The kind of burning that I’m talking about is the feeling of passion and being alive in the depths of your being. I am speaking of Christian living that is more than going to church once a week and putting up with the person in the seat next to you! Our Father in heaven LONGS for us to live with a heart that is alive and on fire for Him!

Did you know that the Aramaic word for love literally means, to burn with passion? For some this is a new concept, but you can feel the desire stirring up in you to know Him this way and some of you have found yourself burning with passion, now more than ever before, to get closer to the One called Love!

Either way, you’re in good company! This burning heart phenomenon was experienced by Jesus’ downtrodden disciples when Jesus appeared to them in His resurrected body:

Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’ And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them. Luke 24:31-33

Hopelessness and Despair Brings Hope
The disciples on the road to Emmaus were broken and hurt. They didn’t understand why Jesus had died. We can practically hear their thoughts as we read the story in Luke 24. They wonder, We thought Jesus was our Messiah, and now He’s gone—dead. What do we do now? There’s nowhere to go. So, they give up and go back to their old lives as fishermen. But then, there He is—Jesus in His glorified body. Yet, they have no idea who He is. He asks them what is bothering them, and in amazement, as though this stranger lives under a rock, they ask, “Do you not know?”
He continues to talk with the brokenhearted disciples for a while, explaining the importance of the crucifixion; eventually, He disappears. The disciples look at one another and recognize that deep, inner burning in their hearts, and they say, “Oh! It was Him! It was Him!”

How did they know?

Their hearts burned within them. All of a sudden, they experienced the fellowship of the burning hearts. And in that place of intimacy and revelation, even in their brokenness, Jesus came. Jesus showed up in His glorified body, but because of their overwhelming emotions, they didn’t recognize Him. They were focused on earthly things instead of heavenly things. Instead of rebuking them, Jesus came into their brokenness and encountered them in His glorified body, causing their hearts to burn. Suddenly, they began to remember what it was like to be with Him. They knew it had to be Him.

It Had to Be Him!
The disciples knew they had been with Him because of the physical, emotional, and spiritual burning that continued even after He vanished. This burning heart phenomenon also happened to the prophets of old, like David, Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. David’s heart burned with passion for the Lord (Ps. 39:3). He desired one thing and was called a “man after God’s own heart” (Ps. 27:4; 1 Sam. 13:4, Acts 13:22). Moses talked to God face to face and breath to breath (Ex. 33:11, 18; Num. 12:8). Isaiah’s fiery encounter in Isaiah 6 with the coal to his lips transformed him from fearful and timid to bold and fearless (Is. 6:6-13). Jeremiah had fire in his heart and bones that compelled him to be true to his commission, even if it meant death (Jer. 20:9). But to these disciples, this was an awakening to the deep inner witness and recognition of the One with whom they were walking—the Christ.

What To Do With The Burning
Many find themselves feeling like they are of a few with this burning on the inside, not knowing what to do with it. I encourage you to keep on praying, worshipping, and intimately encountering the Lord! Pray about and find a local chuch expression of other burning ones with whom you can fellowship. The Lord will connect you with other burning hearts!