I remember as a little kid, (6 or 7 years old) the first time my dad "allowed" me to mow the lawn (not knowing I would regret it for the next 10 years). What I remember more distinctly is my mom completely flipping out when she saw the condition of the lawn when I was done. Let's just say it was a disaster. But she wasn't angry at me, she thought my father mowed the lawn! He defended himself and told her that I was the culprit, and I just stood there, knowing I messed up, but feeling a little disgusted because I actually wanted to help! I didn't need to say anything. She immediately calmed down and told me that she was proud of me (although it looked like I "mowed" the lawn with a plow).
Thinking back at this now I wonder if this is not how God sees us when we try and impress Him with our "good works". Quickly check out Luke 12:43-48:
"(43) How blessed is that servant whom his master finds doing this when he comes! (44) Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his property. (45) "But if that servant says to himself, 'My master is taking a long time to come back,' and begins to beat the other servants and to eat, drink, and get drunk, (46) the master of that servant will come on a day when he doesn't expect him and at an hour that he doesn't know. Then his master will punish him severely and assign him a place with unfaithful people. (47) That servant who knew what his master wanted but didn't prepare himself or do what was wanted will receive a severe beating. (48) But the servant who did things that deserved a beating without knowing it will receive a light beating. Much will be required from everyone to whom much has been given. But even more will be demanded from the one to whom much has been entrusted."
God wants us to do good because we love Him. If we try and be holy for any other reason than that alone, we are sinning. God isn't impressed with our "good deeds" (which are usually good according to human standards) just like my mother wasn't impressed with my lawn mowing skills. But she knew I tried my best and she appreciated it and thanked me for it, because she loves me. God says in Isaiah 64:6 that all our righteousness deeds are as "filthy rags" before Him, and that He judges the purposes of our hearts (Heb 4:12).
I think we got to a point where "contemporary Christian living standards" have become so important that we don't really listen to the Holy Spirit any more. I for one am looking for more, I've been there, done that. I'm done trying to act holy and ignore the fire in my heart. Quick example, the past Sunday while playing bass in church, we did these two pumping praise songs and I wanted to freak out. My heart just wanted to go insane in the presence of God, but I couldn't, I mean, how would it look if the bassist suddenly started head banging (yea I'm a metalhead) in front of the church? I guess it's my fault that I kept it inside, and I feel convicted that I did, because I think it is equally wrong to go nuts just for the show, as it is to hold back ” just for the show (intention of the heart, yes?). My heart yearns to be holy and I realized there is a difference between striving for holiness and striving to be just like all the model preachers and pastors out there. I am certainly not saying that our teachers are not holy, but I believe you should not just imitate them. God looks at the heart. I believe God calls people to do certain things (just look how Jesus did it) and if we try and look and act like someone else, we may miss what God called us for specifically.
So go for your dream, no matter how absurd it may sound. Just remember that God will never command you to do something that contradicts His word. One day I'll share my dream with you. All I know is that I don't yet have the level of commitment and intimacy with God that I need. But this will change. I know I'm totally depended on God for the dream to come true, as it will only happen if and when He chooses. I am totally depended on Him for guidance to reach this place, because honestly, I do not know who else to turn to. It's scary, but exciting all at once.
Take some time alone with God and His word. He will come close to you and you may experience something you have been longing for all your life. Always remember God looks at the motivation of your heart. Be honest in your conversation with Him. Oh how the Lord knows how many times I've tried to impress Him in prayer by saying things that just sound so right, so religious, but then I've never told Him how I really feel. God wants a relationship. I believe God doesn't want your praise and worship if you do not mean it. Man!!! I only pray that the Holy Spirit is guiding me in writing this because I know I say a lot of things that go against what I've been taught all my life. I just try and think about this logically. If you don't feel a burning desire in you to praise God, FIND OUT WHY NOT!! Singing real loud and falling flat on your face just because it looks right will not bring you closer to God. Pray to God to come to you and fill you. I am not at the end of this road, I think I'm slap bang in the middle of it, but I've come to realize certain things that I believe to be the reason why most people in church have hit a brick wall concerning relationships and experiences with God. I want my OWN walk with Christ. We as Christians are not supposed to live in the shadow of years gone by, not daring to go further. This in itself is just another comfort zone. God will not stretch you in your comfort zone. Are we as the church in a comfort zone? I think so.