Guest post by Beverly Teeter
This was the first Christmas after my husband of 39 years passed away in March, 2018. I was asked to share something at our Christmas service at church. God had been talking to me about worship. Here’s what He gave me to share:
KISS THE FACE OF GOD
I was in WalMart the other night, frustrated and exhausted, when I was overcome with a sense of God’s presence. An overwhelming awareness and appreciation of the love of God as shown by the birth of Christ washed over me. Surrounded by people occupied with the business of the season, I needed a quiet place. I must have buried my head in the dairy case for at least ten minutes as God and I entered a holy place. Did I need to be in church or have all the religious trappings to enter worship? Not at all. The Holy Spirit knew I needed to be refreshed. Earlier in the evening, the music playing over the sound system was secular and rowdy hip hop; but now a song glorifying Jesus and inviting His adoration and praise swept over my weary soul and the milk aisle became my altar.
What is worship? What act or attitude constitutes the kind of worship acceptable to an almighty, eternal, all-knowing and all-wise God, Creator and Sustainer of all?
In John 4, Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth. Great words but what does that mean for me? Let’s take a closer look.
After a successful contest with the prophets of Baal, the prophet, Elijah, was discouraged that the people still didn’t turn to God and complained that he alone was left. God’s response in I Kings 19:18 was, “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” God counted bowing down and kissing as worship. In that culture, those actions showed humility, surrender and love or loyalty.
Proverbs 24:26 takes it one step further, “Like a kiss on the lips is the one who gives an honest answer.” In other words, speaking truth is like a kiss on the lips. Do we speak truth in our dealings with God or do we hide from Him? Those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. Is honesty part of worship? Absolutely! I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we hide our sins, we can never receive forgiveness. We have to bring them into the light of His presence.
But there is also a kiss of betrayal. Judas is famous for it. Luke describes the act in chapter 22:47-48 “Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” The very act that should show humility, surrender and loyal love revealed Judas’ duplicity, dishonesty and self-centeredness. I think Jesus asks us the same question today. Will you betray me with a kiss?
The lyrics to “Mary Did You Know” include the phrase, “When you kiss your little baby, you’ve kissed the face of God.” Think about it. You parents and grandparents, what prompts you to kiss that new baby’s face? Usually the emotions include love, joy and wonder. Can you kiss your baby’s face and then not cherish that little one and devote yourself to him or her?
I believe it’s the same in our relationship with God. He wants us to know Him and relate with Him. Jesus came as a helpless baby to identify with us and show us God’s nature. His death on the cross and His resurrection made it possible for us to know the Father and to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s what Christmas is all about!
What is our response to such love and grace? Do we open ourselves up, speaking truth and receiving forgiveness and relationship? Do we pull away in fear, cover our sins and avoid God or even deny His existence? Or, do we put on a big front, “kiss” Him in public but stay far away in our hearts, not allowing Him access to who we are and what we’re going through?
During this Christmas season, will you consider how you interact with God, how your relationship is going or if you even have a relationship with Him? And, will you seek His face, bow a knee in humility and the surrender of reverence; kiss His face with love and the joy of wonder? Will you speak truth, giving an honest answer, confessing your sin and receiving His forgiveness?
Here are five steps:
1) Don’t run or hide from Him.
2) Seek His face in repentance.
3) Kiss Him – Show sincere worship.
4) Quit working in your own strength/doing it your own way – Surrender.
5) Rest in Him (Trust Him)
It doesn’t matter who or where you are; the Holy Spirit can lead you into worship as you, in honesty, kiss the face of God.