If we are truly, from our hearts, coming into a relationship with God, there will be clear effects on ourselves, others, and even on God. It’s clear we’re talking about a full-rounded relationship. So, what does this process accomplish?
- Effects on Ourselves.
Probably the main effect we can expect on ourselves from coming to know God is a new perspective. Worship reminds us who and where and what we are, and Who and what and where God is. Worship, for example, reminds us that God is in His heaven and all is right with the world, as the old poem has it, but also that He is not just on His throne, high and lifted up, but right here with us and in us.
God, says David, “inhabits” or is “enthroned upon” the praises of His people. That’s from Psalm 22, the despairing but praising Psalm from which Jesus quoted on the cross. It begins with a wail of horror—the horror only Jesus has truly experienced—of being torn from God. Then it goes directly to praise and to prayer, telling God all the heart’s troubles—which, again, only Jesus experienced to such depths. It ends in obedience and utter peace: “Posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation” (v. 30).1
And they do declare it, to this day. When we meditate, pray, and worship God, and cap it with obedience, everything else falls into a place lower than it might have seemed a few minutes before.
- Effects on Others.
As we come to know God, this opens a window to heaven for others to peek through. Whether they are ready or not to look through it will vary. Some people are angered or frightened by our meditation, prayer, worship, and obedience. We have to keep our eyes on the Spirit’s guiding and back away quietly when doors are shut against us, continuing to pray.
But for those who are seeking, who want to know what God is really like, our worship can be a magnet. They may not know how to experience any of this for themselves, and the window we can open will be limited, but they can get a glimpse. If God inhabits our praises, then our praises bring Him near to those around us. The true, heart-deep praise of a happy Christian can be irresistible to someone who is feeling the ache of the “God-shaped void,” and doesn’t know what to do about it.
- Effects on God.
Finally, do our meditation, prayer, worship, and obedience affect God? It seems impossible, doesn’t it? He is so great, so unsearchable, and so unimaginable that all we ever had for Him were pictures, or light, or a father or a mother, or a Maker, until Jesus came. Now we see God with a human face, and that’s still only a tiny bit of the real picture.
How can our feeble praises affect such a Being? It is impossible that an all-powerful God would need anything, but He made us “for [His] glory” (Isa. 43:7). He wanted us! He needs us? As a Man, in Gethsemane, He would have died for lack of His friends if an angel hadn’t come and revived Him. It’s impossible that an all-powerful God could fail, but even Lucifer turned from Him, and as for us, He once “repented” that He had made us (Gen. 6:6). It’s impossible that an all-powerful God could cry over a loss, but He will. He’ll wipe away our tears, but He will never forget those beloved children He made, who refused Him. So, impossible as it seems, it must be true. Our praises can lighten the heart of God. Impossible, but fact.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem for His last week of life, the religious leaders were very disapproving of the shouting and praises of the people, young and old. They complained to Jesus and asked Him to make them be quiet. Jesus said, memorably, that if they were quiet, the very earth would cry out. God will be praised. We get to decide whether we want to have a part in the song, or not. We make a statement by our meditation, prayer, worship, and obedience.2