We have a dangerous habit of making a worship service part of our weekly routine. It’s easy to get up on Sunday morning, put on your church clothes and go through the motions of Sunday morning worship. In all reality, most of us are somewhere between the prostitute who worshipped at Jesus feet and the self-righteous Pharisees who scorned sinners like that prostitute.
I want to look at a few passages to help us with our worship. My goal is we will examine our hearts. Then, when we approach worship, it will be with a renewed humility and thankfulness.
Scribes and Pharisees
The scribes and Pharisees were too concerned with what they wore. They wanted the nicest robes with the longest tassels. Their goal was the attention of man. They made sure what they wore to worship drew attention to themselves. But our role in worship is to point people’s attention to God. Biblical fatherhood points our children to God.
Where we sit in church can also be a bit of a controversy. I’ve seen churches have ‘family pews’. Only THAT one family sat in THAT pew. I’ve actually heard church members ask guests to move because they were sitting in their seat. The scribes and Pharisees would take the nicest seats. They wanted to be up front where everyone could see how awesome they were.
Ultimately, all this boils down to how people think of us. The scribes and Pharisees were too concerned with how people saw them—it affected the way they dressed, where they sat and how they worshipped. They were so self-absorbed their worship was self-worship. Their love of God was fake.
Sinners and Tax Collectors
What a strikingly different picture. This woman’s concern was not what she was wearing, where she would sit or the greeting she would receive. Her target seat was at the feet of Jesus. The appearance she was most concerned with was the state of Jesus feet, and the greeting she most wanted to hear was, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Her desire to be in God’s presence was because she wasn't self-righteousness. She realized her need of a savior. In those moments where we realize our greatest need is forgiveness, there is no time for concerned ourselves with appearances. We want to be in His presence. We want to bring other people into His presence. And we want to ‘go in peace’, not to live ‘our’ lives for our glory, but to live the life He gave us for His glory.
Bring it all together
The reality is most of us approach every Sunday with this rhythm of life. It’s just what we do. We do it so much we sometimes forget why we do it. I hope this post encourages you to remember why you worship. You worship because you have been redeemed. You worship because you were a sinner when the Savior found you. You worship because He is God and you are not.
I want to give you few practical suggestions that might reinvigorate your worship times.
Prepare your heart for worship. For you, that might mean singing in your vehicle on your way to church. Maybe it’s having a prolonged time of prayer before you go in to the service. Let me encourage you as you get ready to direct your thoughts to God and His word.
I know it may seem nuts to think about preparing your heart for worship when you have got six people trying to get dressed and loaded in a vehicle and you’re ten minutes late, the baby is fussing, and you spilled your coffee! In the midst of that storm—God is still there. In the midst of the chaos, try to find peace. Just breathe.
Remember why you do this. Remember who you were before Jesus and where He is taking you. Take inventory of the blessings in your life you simply don’t deserve, but by God’s grace and goodness He has given to you. This might make the fussy baby and the spilled coffee a little less annoying.
Remembering your first love, Jesus, should help the words of those songs mean so much more than just the music that accompanies it. It should help us get beyond our preferences and help us key into who we are worshipping.
Help your brothers and sisters in Christ to worship as well. When we sing together, pray together and do life-on-life discipleship together, it is better. How can you encourage those around you? How can you direct your brothers and sisters in Christ to worship Jesus with you? Is there a way you can encourage them to block out the distractions and to keep worship the main thing?
I hope this week we’ll find a way to block out the hustle and bustle of life. I hope we will leave the pomp and circumstance behind. I hope we will find our way to the feet of Jesus—where we can leave the only gift we have to bring—our lives and our praise.
This is a guest post from Will King, M. Div. Will is a doctoral student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary studying leadership. He is the associate pastor of students and men’s ministry at Memorial Baptist Church in Baytown, TX. Married to Lucinda for 13 years, they have four wonderful kids. Learn more about Will here.
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