Worship should be an important and integral part of our Christian life. Unfortunately, one of the first things to suffer when we slip into mediocrity is our worship of God.
Many people might argue that serving God (the topic of next week’s post) is more important than worshiping Him. I’m going to respectfully disagree for two reasons:
- Worship is all about God
- Service is mostly about us pleasing God and in return being rewarded
This isn’t to say that worship has no benefits for us, but true worship is what is OWED to God.
In the same way, a king or queen expects people to respect them by bowing or a military officer expects other to salute him, God should be worshiped. In fact, He will be worshiped by every person.
“I have to worship God.”
A statements such as this screams about duty. And it is every person’s duty to worship their loving Creator and merciful Redeemer.
But if our worship is motivated by duty, it will fall into mediocrity.
One of the clearest New Testament passages about worship is found in John chapter four. Christ has a conversation with a Samaritan woman about worship.
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
Worship is a spiritual activity. In order to properly worship, we must be in the correct frame of mind.
This means our heart is engaged. Every part of our being is reaching toward God with adoration and amazement.
Can you reach this state when you’re doing it out of duty? Maybe. But God is pleased when our heart is given over to Him, and submitted willingly (2 Corinthians 8:5).
How do we worship? Do we have to be in church to worship?
Years ago, I did a study about worship. At that time, I was convinced that true worship involved a body on its knees and a mouth speaking words of gratitude.
Every case of someone worshiping Jesus, for example, involves them bowing at his feet. The description of worship found in Philippians 2: 9-11 talks about knees bowing and tongues confessing.
If this is the case, I haven’t worshiped God very often in the past few months. My daily prayer happens while I’m seated at the counter in my kitchen. In church, I sing with my heart to him, but I only rarely kneel.
When I look at Jesus’ description in John 4, though, I see something. God doesn’t say we must bow, sing, cry aloud or do anything specific. His requirements:
- Our spirit is involved
- Our heart is open and honest
What does worship look like then? In a glorious twist of irony, only God can see true worship (since none of us can see a person’s spirit). Rather than trying to find the perfect formula for worship, imagine yourself alone with your Savior. Picture yourself worshiping Him.
Where ever you can accomplish this act of mental acrobatics, you can worship the One who is deserving.
Unfortunately, like so many other aspects of religious service, worship has become formulaic. People show up at church and go through the motions.
It happened in the Bible, too.
Under the law part of worship involved sacrifice. In order to worship, an altar had to be built, a perfect sacrifice had to be killed and laid in order on the altar.
A procession headed up toward the Temple Mount. Priests would blow a trumpet. Non-worshipers would step out of the road to watch in awe as the pious crowd marched up to the temple, singing psalms.
A lot of motions to go through, sure, but it didn’t guarantee that God was worshiped.
The same is true for us today. Jesus said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8).
What’s the result of only going through the motions? Jesus tells us in verse nine, “In vain the do worship me.”
Going through the motions of worship is empty and pointless. God doesn’t receive honor, praise or worship. Our hearts aren’t drawn closer to Him.
It’s just another mediocre Sunday during the worship hour.
If we want true worship, we must draw close to God for the right reason and offer our hearts in spiritual communion. If we slip up in motive or mode, we’re just going through the motions.
How was your worship this week?
Up next: Mediocre Service