What are we like under pressure, when there is nowhere to hide? Are we the same whether or not the spotlight of humanity's torch is focused on us? Do our lives reflect the eternal light of Christ alive in us? We are all witnesses, whether we like it or not, and we are all seen and fully known by God.
Serving on the worship team at my local church, I find myself acutely aware of both my weaknesses and my strengths. There is a team around me and as we worship our God, we also support one another to minister to the congregation.
I am surrounded by people who love God and are glad to give Him glory in all they do. Their testimonies, marked by a choice to surrender what they have to God and let Him move, have encouraged me. I have seen my brothers and sisters choose to worship in sickness, fatigue, uncertainty, and even in seemingly missed opportunities, just as much as they have when they have been going from strength to strength.
In Psalms, it says:
"My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skilfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them."
(Psalm chapter 139, verses 15-16)
God created us all in His beauty, fully equipped with everything we need for the days He has fashioned for us. That means He already knows our weaknesses before we discover them, and He knows where we will find our gifts. I have been nervous, uncertain if I was the right person for the task, and laughed at the thought that God might want to use me in a certain way, but in the end I know He will never ask me to do something He won't help me to do.
I can make that choice to trust God, and that is the choice I want to make every time I step on stage for a service – to surrender to God and let Him use me. He knows me completely and whether in weakness or in strength, I know that everything within me was made to give Him praise!
The spotlight we choose
One thing I love about our church worship team is the humility I see. Here are people willing to serve with everything God has given them, yet also willing to lift others up in order to help them exercise their Spirit-given gifts. It shows hearts that are focused not on self-glorification, but on loving God, and loving others; hearts obedient to the desires of God, and not those of the world.
"... For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel chapter 16, verse 7)
We can choose to live right by the world's standards, or live right by God, and the consequences of that choice will not be hidden. The world's spotlight is greedy and easily distracted. It is something that costs time, energy, and personal integrity as we chase after its insatiable promises to make us anything and everything.
In contrast, God's spotlight simply promises to show us who He has made us to be – children of God, loved by Him. It is not a spotlight we need to chase, but one that is always shining. All we need to do is drop the barrier, drop the pretence, drop the mask, and let God show us who we were made to be.
It can be a scary thing to step into the light. Our weaknesses are made visible, and our hearts are laid bare. Yet, there is blessing in all this. As our weaknesses are revealed and handed over to Christ, they are transformed by His strength. As our hearts are laid bare before Him, they are filled to overflowing with the measure of His love. Failures are transformed into testimonies, mourning into joy, tiredness into wings like eagles that rise up and are even able to carry others into the embrace of Christ.
When Christ has given us life, why should we be afraid to celebrate? When Christ has given us freedom, why should we be afraid to rejoice? When Christ has lifted us out of the waters and onto the rock of His strength, why should we hold back from declaring His victory?
Don't be afraid to let God shine! We are all called to be His witnesses, so let us bless His name with all that we are!
"Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!"
(Psalm chapter 103, verse 1)