The sound was deafening! New York City in October was an excellent setting for a worship conference, and the musician leading music on the closing night was a phenomenal guitar player. Entering the facility, we saw the stage beautifully set in an old cathedral with its ceiling vaulting into the sky, and the beauty of the architecture screamed out the wondrous nature of our creative God. Excitement built as we waited for it to begin, but that excitement quickly turned to discomfort as the band started to play the first song. Within a few beats, the powerful thunder of the drums and the roar of the guitar quickly descended into cacophonic anarchy.
In another venue, the music would have been excellent, but the acoustics of the cathedral were not designed for amplified sound. When constructed, electronic amplification would have been in the realm of science fiction. The architectural design was for the natural amplification of the human voice, and this was apparent when the band stopped, and the entire congregation sang praises to God acapella. After the echo of the band died down, the voices reverberated throughout the cathedral. The sound was beautiful praise ringing out in love for our Savior. When the echo dissipated, the voices of praise to the Heavenly Father rang clear.
When we want what we do not possess, the sentiment is, “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence!” The neighbors may have better things, or they may appear to be content in their lives. We want what they have, and desire infests our hearts. Typically the term, “desire” refers to the trappings of pleasure, but the more common snare is our craving for what is good. The voice screaming in our ears may be the desire for our child to make it through the operation or the means to pay the bills. Life happens, and the craving to remain safe or preserve a reputation may lead to a character that is contrary to Christ. The moment we achieve the desire of our hearts, we realize that the grass is not always greener.
Temptation stems from the many voices in our hearts, screaming out, “There is a better way!” James 1:14 tells us, “Everyone is tempted by their own craving; they are lured away and enticed by them (CEB).” When that thing we crave becomes more important than who we are in Christ, desire becomes selfish. It gives birth to sin, which takes us further from God. Spiritual death may begin by uttering, “I deserve better!”
The sounds can overwhelm! With every craving and desire screaming for dominance, the voice of God can be hard to hear. How do we make sense of it all amid all the chaos? Early in the first chapter, James tells us that if we lack wisdom, our response is to ask God in faith, and he will give it to us. The answer has always been prayer, but not a prayer for God to remove the obstacle. Often, the love of God is found where the grass is not greener. When our desire to have the same mindset as Christ is more significant than our desire to remove the obstacle, all of the other voices fade away, and the sound of God echoes in our lives.