Valerie Jones

{Live with Purpose. Lead with Passion.}

I am a blogger, worship leader, and speaker who helps worship leaders and team members connect with purpose and passion in life and leadership by offering encouragement, community, and practical resources so that they can thrive in life and leadership, both on and off the platform.

Thanks for stopping by!

{Dear Christian, Are You All In?}

She looked so small standing in the kitchen with her backpack hanging off her shoulders. She had on a little plaid skirt and a navy blue polo and looked darling. I couldn't believe she was off to Kindergarten. I cried that day, I'm sure. But, I also felt extremely fortunate that she would be heading off to a private, Christian school. Six years later, she was much bigger and was heading out the door to the same campus for her first day of sixth grade. This was the year she learned a hard but important truth. Just because you label something Christian doesn't mean it's a fair, true representation of the label. The sad truth my young daughter was learning is that many people identify themselves as Christian and behave much differently than one might expect Christians to behave. The sad truth is that there are loads of people who are nominal Christians - ones who wear the label but look no different than the ones who don't. She was so confused. We parented her through it and now she gets it, but in the moment it was a big deal. What we figured out is this: there are non-Christians even in places that you might expect to be full of Christians (like a Christian school), and you cannot expect non-Christians to behave like Christians. 

But what about those of us who call ourselves believers? What about those of us who say we've chosen to worship God? What does that look like? Here's what I know: worship is about who we are and what we do. It's about our attitudes and actions. It's about recognizing who God is and responding accordingly. When we consider all of these, we gain a more complete perspective of worship and what it means in the life of a believer. Wandering aimlessly through our daily routines without consideration of what it means to belong to Christ doesn't work. Our lives must be lived with intention and purpose. People are watching. People are forming opinions about God and about His Church based on your behavior -- whether you like it or not. Here are three things we need to remember.

1. Worship is about what you love. It's a matter of heart. There is a battle constantly raging for our affection and devotion. We get into trouble when we try to live life from a divided heart. Scripture commands us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. That's it!  We have to love God wholeheartedly, and live our lives motivated by that love. Paul wrote that everything else was worthless - like garbage! - compared to the value of knowing Christ. When we learn to prize Christ - to value, cherish, and treasure Him above all else, our lives will reflect that.  One thing is for sure, though. You cannot worship Him in truth if You do not know Him.

2. Worship is about what you believe. It's a function of the mind. Authentic worship cannot happen apart from right knowledge of God. Can you imagine staring into the face of Jesus and being asked, "Who do you say that I am"?  So, go on. How would you answer that question? You know, the way we answer that question informs what we believe about everything else. It shapes the way we think about life.  And, the things we believe about life and about God, will determine how we live it. Can you see why it's so important that we be able to answer the question of who God is accurately? As we come to know Him we can love Him more deeply. When our knowledge of God is accurate and our love of God is deep, then our worship is accurate (true) and passionate.

3. Worship is about how you live. It's about what you do. And, I'm not talking about just what you do on Sunday mornings! What we do on Sunday mornings in our corporate gatherings should be an extension and overflow of personal, private worship. If Sunday morning is the only time you turn your attention and affection toward the Lord, then you're doing it wrong. What we do, what we say, and how we live must be in alignment with the standard set forth in Scripture. Our actions and our attitudes in our Monday through Saturday lives have to reflect the truth we declare in our gatherings on Sunday mornings. We exist to honor, glorify, and obey Christ. We are instructed in Scripture to be godly examples in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, to strive for personal holiness. It matters what you do. It matters how you handle yourself in every situation. That's what living worship is about. His name and His fame are on the line when you wear the label Christian. It's a big deal.

May I challenge you today? Take a few minutes, in a quiet space and imagine that you're staring in the face of Jesus who's asking you, "Who do you say I am?" Answer Him as honestly as you can.  And then, prayerfully identify things in your life that contradict what you believe about Him, and ask Him to help you change them. Be encouraged sweet friends. The Holy Spirit will do the work for you, if you invite Him.

Let this be your prayer: Teach me your ways, oh Lord, so I can live according to your truth. Grant me an undivided heart so that I can honor You, and let everything I do and everything I say be a true representation of who You are. (Ps. 86:11, Col. 3:17)

He loves you so. Don't settle for nominal Christianity. Just don't. The truth of who God is changes everything. Go all in.