“God is Spirit. And they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; tremble before Him all the earth” (Psalm 96:9).
If worship is powerful–that is, if kneeling before Almighty God in humility and rising to praise Him in gratitude and going forth to obey Him in faithfulness has power in the world to change lives and redirect society–then the enemy will be working to put a stop to it.
Count on that.
If God uses our worship to transform sinners, starting with us, then the enemy will do all in his power to neutralize it.
So–how is your worship these days?
Are you working at worship, at learning to humble yourself and praise Him more effectively? Are you giving yourself anew to the Savior throughout the day, every day?
Notice the one question we did not ask: Are you getting anything out of your worship? Scripture does not allow us to ask that. We are promised nothing from worship. In worship, we do the giving. We give Him praise and prayers, offerings and love, our time and our attention, and ultimately ourselves.
Warren Wiersbe used to say, “Worship pays. But if you worship for the pay, it won’t pay.”
What has the evil advisor told you in the secret recesses of your mind and heart to dissuade you from worship?
There are so many lies abroad about worship. Here are some of the most popular, in no particular order…
One. Worship is all about you.
You’ll need a worshipful setting, worshipful music, in a building with worshipful architecture. The leaders of the worship service must do things just right, otherwise, if you do not worship, the fault is all theirs.
Two. You should be “getting something” out of worship.
If you leave the church campus unable to identify what you “got out” of the service, someone has failed you mightily.
Three. Worship is irrelevant; it doesn’t matter.
Millions of Americans are buying into that lie. All you have to do is see how most people skip church altogether on Sundays.
Four. Only exciting, emotional worship matters.
If it’s not loud, fast, and intense, it doesn’t count.
Listen to people put down the more traditional, more restrained, more formal type of worship and you will know that lie is being bought into. We speak of worship services being dull, dead, sleep-inducing, and cold. One wonders if it ever occurs to us that the Father in Heaven alone judges worship.
Five. Boring worship does not count.
Six. Worship matters only inside the church building.
Seven. You can worship on the creek bank as well as you can in church.
Eight. The quality of your offering (your song, your testimony, sermon, etc) does not matter; all that matters is you’re giving it to God.
Read the Old Testament book of Malachi to see the folly of this. People were bringing diseased animals to the temple as their offerings. The Heavenly Father was/is no fool; He understands an insult when one is given.
The amount of your offering and the sincerity of your worship matter. But not in the way we might think. The widow (Mark 12) put in two small coins, but our Lord said hers was the largest offering given that day. The point is obvious: What gives the offering its weight is its value to us.
Nine. Meditation on anything counts as worship.
Ten. The architecture must be conducive to worship if it’s to be done right.
Dr. Mike Canady tells of an American preacher who traveled to Malawi where he (Mike) served as a missionary, and addressed the believers on how to construct impressive buildings for worship and Sunday School space. Mike laughed, “The people there knew to have church, just find the nearest mango tree.”
Eleven. “What” you worship does not matter so long as you do.
Twelve. “How” you worship does not matter.
Thirteen. Everyone else worships better than you; you’re the only one who gets bored, has trouble concentrating, and whose mind wanders during prayer.
Fourteen. The small offerings you bring, the pitiful singing you give, your feeble attempts at praying, etc., are an insult to the Lord. Better to stay away than offend the Lord with such.
Fifteen. We pay the preachers to do our worshiping for us. Our job is to come to church and watch them perform and then critique them. If I give them a passing grade, I have done my job.
Sixteen. Worship is a passive activity. When our worship leaders do their jobs well, we worship. Worship is something that happens to us, not something we do. Whether I feel anything or not is unimportant; what counts is I can check off worship for one more week.
These are only a few of the thousands of lies about worship.
The Psalms are all about worship. They are the original songbook of Israel. So, anyone wishing to worship the living God could do no better than to read selections such as Psalm 23, 103, and 139 and meditate upon their riches.
Scripture provides numerous excellent illustrations of people worshiping. Here are two–
–In Isaiah 6, the prophet is worshiping. Because he “sees the Lord,” high and lifted up, he sees his own unworthiness and sinful heart. After being purified from that sin, he hears the Lord’s call to “go.” He answers, “Here am I Lord, send me.”
–In Luke 10, Mary is worshiping at the feet of the Lord in her home in Bethany. Jesus tells her sister Martha that Mary has chosen “the one good thing which shall not be taken away from her.”
In worship, we “see” the Lord and answer His call. We are choosing the “one good thing”–worship–which is eternal.
Here are a few suggestions for what they are worth–
–Do not sit in judgment of your own worship. Just offer it to the Lord.
–Do not demand that those leading in worship entertain or “bless” you. Instead of focusing on them, direct your thoughts to the Lord.
–Never “need” your worship to be exciting or to do something to you. Instead, “need” to humble your heart before the Lord, and give Him yourself anew.
–Much of worship should be spent in listening to the Lord. Keep in mind His voice is often “still, small,” and thus heard only by those who are still and quiet.
–Before giving your offering, spend a moment telling the Savior of your love for Him and your gratitude for what this means. Worship with your offering.
–As you mature in Christ, you will find yourself able to worship no matter how skilled the musicians, singers, and leaders or how eloquent the preacher.
Beloved, let us worship every day of our lives, wherever we are. And do so in Spirit and in Truth. Amen.