Posted by: musingsofthemund | March 12, 2012

Worship is More than Just a Song

So one of the things I’ve spoken about in previous posts in this series is this idea of the disingenousness of worship in that it doesn’t always seem like a true reflection of people’s hearts and attitudes. (They sing about things they don’t necessarily mean in the moment or things they aren’t actually willing to do)

Now it certainly isn’t for me to judge anyone’s hearts in worship or in anything else for that matter. If anything, my observations are merely what I see in my own heart and attitude in/about worship from time to time and so I wonder if there are others who struggle with this.

So anyway, back to the matter at hand, the question seems to be this: Should our worship be a reflection of our heart and what we are doing in our lives? Ultimately, the conclusion I’ve been coming to is yes. And no.

On the one hand, I think it is possible to come to worship with authenticity if you are struggling to believe or live out what you are singing. I think declaring those truths even in the face of struggle is a means to building faith. In my mind I would see that as my own cry out to God, “I’m singing these things, I’m not doing a good job, help my unbelief!” It serves as a cry of dependence that I mentioned in the previous entry.

On the other hand, I think that if we come to it thinking we are better than we are, ignorant of our deficiency, that is when we (I) get into trouble. I think this happens in several ways, where sometimes we are actually unaware that it is even happening.

Most frequently I would say it comes in the form of thoughtless, autopilot worship. When we show up, recognize a bunch of songs that we’ve sung a million times, and sing through them without ever ones thinking about what we’re singing about. We don’t stop to think on what it is we’re singing or even try to understand whether we really mean what we’re singing, we just sing because we can.

The other frequent thing that comes to mind is that we get stuck in this mindset that worship is just about singing and praying and that it stops there. The problem is when we think it stops there, we end up only giving God a partial, incomplete worship. What concerns me most about this is that it seems to be symptomatic of a general apathy towards serving others. If part of worship is professing love and adoration for Jesus and for God almighty, then should be be demonstrating that love with our lives?

Jesus said “If you love me, you’ll obey what I command” in Jonh 14:15, he sums up the law and the prophets to two things, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. When he describes the parable of the sheep and the goats, he says that they either served (or ignored) Jesus himself when they served or ignored someone around them in need. I see a lot of lazy, comfortable Christians, myself included, who often seem to have no inclination to go out and serve Jesus by serving the least of these. And if that’s the case and if we are either unable to or refusing to recognize this, do we really have any business professing our love for God in songs of worship, or declaring that where He goes we’ll go, whom He loves we’ll love? It seems to me like to do so often makes liars of us and I don’t think that kind of worship honors God, I think it insults Him.

As God has been revealing this to me in my own heart, He’s been filling me with a desire to live out my love, so that it’s not just something I sing about with words that turn out to be empty and my hope is that this will challenge you to examine yourself and your life and ask the question of how genuine your worship is (if you haven’t been already, I know I’m not the only one by any stretch of the imagination who has been undergoing this awakening). This isn’t to heap condemnation on myself or anyone else, my hope is for edification, conviction, and ultimately transformation, that I myself, and anyone else reading this might become more and more like Jesus. That’s the goal of this whole thing after all, isn’t it? I’ll leave you with a few verses here.

Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

Psalm 51:16-17 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

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Responses

  1. Maybe this is me just venting but it seems the problem that I keep having with worship is coming and firstly not being confident that I have been living for God and two spending most of the time (for example when I am in a worship service) telling God how I have been doing everything wrong and feeling bad for not being able to live out what I worship. Then when I get to the point and move on and start trying to praise God it seems as if “worship time” is over. Then I get distracted and have to focus on a sermon… I know that there is no condemnation and that instead I should be focusing on who God is and glorify His name, but I also feel as if I keep failing in my responsibility as a Christian to walk and live for him. I feel guilty most times when I am in worship especially if it is lip service and my mind starts wandering (thanks Satan). It seems to be difficult lately. I know God is forgiving and stuff but that doesn’t seem to stop me from screwing up over and over. I could be praising God in the middle of a worship song and thanking Him for his forgiveness and two seconds later I will be having some sort of sinful thoughts. Maybe the conclusion to this rant would be that when I come before God, I need to start by surrendering everything to Him in that moment, firstly. Surrendering my thoughts, my doubts, my fears to begin with. I know it isn’t bad to just talk to God during a set worship time. I know that happens to me a lot and he will reveal things to me but then I feel like it is I who is getting the benefit. I think my problem is I need to approach the throne of grace with confidence and praise Him and glorify Him because I am always going to screw up and it isn’t about me, He has already forgiven me. [end processing rant]


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