We’re wrapping up our June series at VFC: Made to Worship! Alexa Jones shared part 1 of the series with her message Spirit + Truth and Pastor Eric Jones brought the word in part 2 with At All Times. Pastor Beth Jones delivers the final message in our series as we close out the month with a better understanding and appreciation for who we worship, why we worship, and how we worship.
Pastor Beth’s message, Scratch the Itch, may seem a bit funny at first, but how relatable this concept is to all of us! You know how it is, when you get a tickle in your nose or a spontaneous itch in between your shoulder blades…you just gotta scratch that itch! We all experience physical itches from time to time, but we also all experience a spiritual itch within our souls. Unlike the tickly itch on our backs, the way to scratch a spiritual itch is worship.
We’re diving into the 103rd chapter of Psalms for our foundational passage and discovering now only what a spiritual itch is, but also how to scratch it and the 5 powerful benefits that come from scratching our spiritual itch.
Psalm 103:1-5 (AMP) 1Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul, And all that is [deep] within me, bless His holy name. 2Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul, And do not forget any of His benefits; 3Who forgives all your sins, Who heals all your diseases; 4Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you [lavishly] with lovingkindness and tender mercy; 5Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the [soaring] eagle.
While this passage is familiar to many of us, it is important to notice that, in this Psalm, David wasn’t really praying these things; he was encouraging himself and motivating his soul to bless the Lord. He had to tell his soul to worship and, oftentimes, we need to say the same thing to our own souls. There’s a tendency in each of us not to bless the Lord but the truth is this: The way to scratch our spiritual itch is to worship God! We were made to worship God for who He is and what He’s done–they go hand in hand.
“You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
— St. Augustine, confessions
In every season of our lives, it’s pertinent to scratch the spiritual itch by worshiping God and blessing the Lord. As believers, we are faith people who believe God for things. When we are in difficult seasons, we believe that God will bring us out of them. In a season of being single, we believe God to get married. If we want to have a baby, we believe God to have children. When we’re seeking a new job, we believe God to provide the opportunity.
We believe God for favor to surround us like a shield. We believe God that all of our needs are met. We believe God’s word. When God fulfills those things for us, we think that is when we will be satisfied in our lives. Oftentimes, when God’s promises come to fruition, we’re still not satisfied. We’re thankful, yes. But even still, in our spirit and our heart, there's restlessness.
That restlessness persists because the spiritual itch still needs to be scratched. The only thing that will scratch that itch is…you guessed it–worship! When we get in our prayer closet, get in our car or go for a walk and bless the Lord from deep within our soul, something truly satisfying happens.
When we bless the Lord, we are truly satisfied because we make contact with the God of the universe. Nothing in this world compares to literally communicating with the Lord of heaven and earth! Let’s be encouraged, challenged, and stirred up to worship God fully!
Deep within each of us there is a hunger, a restlessness, to scratch our spiritual itch. No matter where we are currently in our relationship with God, we can always bless the Lord and communicate with Him through worship. When this happens, we experience true satisfaction–no more restlessness, we enter into restfulness.
When our hearts connect to God, in a real way through worship, we are satisfied. Amen! So how do we walk this out and put worship into practical practice? As we dive into the 5 benefits of blessing the Lord, let’s allow this message to be a pillar in our spiritual development as we continue growing in our relationship with the Almighty God.
Have answered prayers ever left you feeling restless? How did you know that your heart was still yearning for a connection with God?
Share the ways that you experience peace and rest after having true contact with the Lord.
Psalm 103:1-2 (NKJV) 1Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits...
Even when we’re going through tough times–which we all will!--we have to pull ourselves up by the shirt collar, so to speak, and say, “Hey, my soul! I’m talking to you! Bless the Lord today!” A lot of times, we won’t feel like blessing the Lord in certain life seasons or even in our day-to-day. By reminding and encouraging ourselves like David did in Psalm 103, our soul will eventually get on board for blessing the Lord–our soul will come alive again–and we then experience the benefits of connecting with God!
Here’s the deal: God is never impressed with half-hearted worship. We see countless times throughout the Bible that we are instructed to seek the Lord with our whole heart. God has promised to be found by those who seek Him wholeheartedly. This is why we sometimes need to give our soul a pep talk to be all in with worship! Let’s explore the 5 benefits we experience when we bless the Lord and connect our hearts to His.
Psalm 103:10-12 (NKJV) 10He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
This is the story of redemption! Because of the finished work of the cross when Jesus took on the penalty that we deserved, our sins–past, present, and future–have been forgiven and we were given the opportunity to become the righteousness of God.
As we see in Scratch the Itch, God not only forgives all of our sins, but he also gives us a new identity in Him. Jesus satisfied the claims of justice and created a way for us to transform from sinners to the righteousness of God in Christ.
Think about what it would be like to live our lives completely guilt free with no sense of inferiority or condemnation? This would be easy to do if we were perfect but, as we all know, we’re far from perfect! But…Jesus’ blood shed on the cross has made us perfect in Him. Bless the Lord, oh my soul! The Old Covenant is obsolete; we now live under the New Covenant through Jesus Christ. Amen!
3 John 1:2 (AMP) Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually].
We see in this scripture that God’s desire for us is threefold–spiritually we’re blessed, in our soul (mind, emotions, will) we’re blessed, and physically we are blessed through healing.
Isaiah 53:5 (AMP) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]; The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him, And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed.
All of us are susceptible to earthly sickness, disease, and injury. But what does God say about healing and wholeness? In the same way that there is no sin He will not forgive, there is no sickness He won’t heal. So how does God heal us?
If we believe that the finish line, the end game, according to God’s Word is a healthy, whole, and long life, then one of the pathways to reach that finish line is through worship. Bless the Lord in your seasons of sickness and physical turmoil. Listen to timestamp 31:41 Scratch the Itch for an encouraging testimony of a fellow VFC’er who experienced the healing of the Lord in response to worship. The Holy Spirit knows each of our bodies inside and out so bless the Lord and receive the benefit of healing!
How does knowing God forgives all your sins–past, present, and future–impact the way you live your day-to-day life?
Share a time when God has healed your diseases, physically, mentally, or emotionally. How has God’s healing shaped your attitude toward adversity?
1 Peter 1:18-21 (MSG) Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.
Jesus redeemed our lives from the pit, quite literally! Without Him, we would be in the pits of destruction in hell with an eternal life apart from Him. Think about how excited we all get after we’ve purchased 12 lattes from Biggby and we finally redeem our free coffee when the punch card is full. How much more overjoyed should we be over the redemption of our lives in Christ! Bless the Lord, oh my soul!
John 5:24 - (NKJV) “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
The very minute Jesus because our Redeemer, the Lord of our lives, we pass from death to life in that exact moment. Even when our time here on earth ends, the real us never dies. We will never be separated from God because we are eternally alive in Christ; bless the Lord!
Psalm 63:3-4 (NKJV) 3Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. 4Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
When something happens in our lives that we didn’t plan for or expect or desire, we remind ourselves that God loves us and we trust in Him. Pastor Beth reminds us in Scratch the Itch that God is not is not condemning; we must be careful of an accusatory spirit–that does not come from the Lord! God extends loving kindness toward us at all times.
1 John 4:16-18 (AMP) 16We have come to know [by personal observation and experience], and have believed [with deep, consistent faith] the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides continually in him. 17In this [union and fellowship with Him], love is completed and perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him]; because as He is, so are we in this world.
18There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].
As Jesus is loved by God the Father, we too are loved! When we intentionally and honestly bless the Lord, we no longer live in the fear and dread of divine judgment. Even when we don’t feel love, we believe God loves us just as we are and that He is pleased in us, His children. Amen!
How has your life been redeemed from a pit in your earthly life? How did that season impact your faith?
In what ways have you personally experienced God’s lovingkindness, especially when you felt that you didn’t deserve it?
Psalm 91:16 (NKJV) 16With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”
When we choose to live life for the Lord and bless His name, we see the benefits to worship continue to grow and increase. Even through trials, we know that God is so good. We see in Scratch the Itch that He has promised us a long and satisfying life when we worship Him in the way we were designed to do. So bless the Lord! The good will keep getting better.
Be happy. Be blessed. Be full of Joy. Let’s embrace this vision for our future regardless of where we are in our journey today. Let’s lift our spirits up to God and believe in His promises for us. He is faithful and he is good. Amen!
Father, we thank you for speaking to us through your Word today. You are the revealer and the teacher. You are the one who unveiled Jesus to us and we pray that you also unveil your Word and your desires to our hearts today. Lord, we ask that you keep your Word alive to us and help us to see, hear, and understand things afresh as it relates to worshiping you. We love you, God, and we thank you for the generous gifts and benefits you bestow upon us as we worship you. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen!