The Y-Axis (Vertical Assurance)

Before even hearing of Hillsong and getting into contemporary worship, the only worship I knew was in the good old Hymnals of the Anglican Churches in Baguio. When I was a kid I used to remember liking that one song, Onward Christian Soldiers. 

I still like the old songs. I also like how we have old hymnal songs brought back by our contemporary worship leaders. Some songs are, indeed, timeless… but there are those songs that need to stay in the Hymnals. 


For instance, let’s take a hard look at a song which I believe was widely popular back in the days of the American missionary to the Philippines:

A pure heart, that’s what I long for
A heart that follows hard after Thee
A pure heart, that’s what I long for
A heart that follows hard after Thee

A heart that hides Your word, so that sin would not come in
A heart that’s undivided, but one You rule and reign
A heart that beats compassion, that pleases You my Lord
A sweet aroma of worship, that rises to Your throne


If you long for ‘a pure heart’ as the old song implies, you already have it. You no longer have a heart of stone, but a new heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26,Ezekiel 11:19-20), a heart bearing the word of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:3)


If you long for ‘a heart that follows hard after (God)’, you already have it. You have been made obedient from the heart. (Romans 6:17)


If you long for ‘a heart that hides (His) Word, so that sin would not come in’, you already have it. The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1:14), and is now one with us, as Jesus prayed for (John 17:23). Also, sin no longer has dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14).


If you long for ‘a heart that beats compassion, that pleases You, my Lord’, well, you have the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9, 1 Corinthians 2:12), and the Spirit produces greater fruit through us – love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) And as Christ is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17) And Christ is God’s beloved, in whom He is well pleased (Matthew 3:17).


If you want to be ‘a sweet aroma of worship, that rises to (His) throne’, well, we already are. We are the aroma of Christ to God (2 Corinthians 2:15).


What we treasure, there our hearts are, also. And everyone treasures something. Everyone worships something. 


We can ask the question, ‘What do you worship?’ to anyone, and we can get all sorts of answers. People treasure money, they worship money. People worship power and influence. People worship causes and religions. 


People can worship other people – celebrities, partners, strangers. People can worship their jobs, their studies. People worship themselves. 


People exert passion and energy towards these things that they worship, but the tragedy is, no matter how much they throw in, all these things, these ideas, the grandest achievements to the simplest victories we have – on a long enough timeline, they all die.


Now, if the question, ‘What do you worship?’ is directed to someone who decides to believe in Christ – Guess what – Christ’s finished work has guaranteed that you will always give ‘a sweet aroma of worship that rises to the throne’.


Doesn’t this sound familiar? Once, we were mausoleums, tombs – beautiful structures holding ideals and principles and things in our hearts that are dying and decaying. 


Because of Christ’s finished work, not only do we contain a life that lives forever, but we are also a sweet aroma that rises to the throne of God. 


The sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the body and blood He offered, all this guaranteed that we would never be disconnected from the love of God. And, apparently, not only are we always connected, but we are as pleasing to God as Christ is. We are His beloved, in whom He is well pleased. We are a sweet aroma that rises to the throne. 


Talk of the transfiguration, Moses and Elijah were speaking to Jesus. The disciples were in awe as the greatest of the priests and the greatest of the prophets were with Him, and God assured Christ was EVEN GREATER than these – He didn’t say ‘Listen to Moses’, not ‘Listen to Elijah’, no, He told Peter and the disciples, ‘Listen to HIM.’


I bring this up because priests are ministers of man to God, while prophets are ministers of God to man. And the one greater than Moses and Elijah is Jesus Christ – the literal, unbreakable connection we have to God. 


By Christ and His finished work, we are a sweet aroma of Christ, to God, and nothing will ever take that away from us. It is not what we do, it is what we are. 


By Christ, we ARE worship to God, wherever we are, whatever we do.

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