Last Sunday Night, my pastor spoke on Worship, as he continued through Psalms, and made some points that have stuck with me all week; even as I was reading this week, ran across some thoughts that continued to make me dwell on it.
The passage the sermon was on :
1Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD,
who stand by night in the house of the LORD!
2 Lift up your hands to the holy place
and bless the LORD!
3May the LORD bless you from Zion,
he who made heaven and earth!
Short Psalm, but has a lot to say about worship and what our attitude towards it should be. First two verses we are told to come and Bless the Lord. We are to Bless the Lord through worship, in our worship times, to lift Him up, and make much of Him. This is opposite of the way we think, a lot of times when we enter into our “worship services” we are solely thinking of ourselves, hoping we get a lot out of it. Hoping that we sing this song or that song, and really hoping that we don’t sing these type of songs because those just do nothing for me. We often time enter our times of worship not as worshippers but as consumers, looking for the best option for satisfy our needs, instead of looking to Him, and lifting Him up. As consumers we begin to shop around for what we think is best for us, and what makes us the happiest. And if the worship leader chooses the wrong songs, worship will be horrible for us, and we simply won’t get anything out of it, but if they are to choose the correct songs, the ones that stir us up, then worship experience will be great.
Years ago I heard a pastor give a definition of worship, that he got from a Seminary professor, and it has always stuck with me:
Worship – is setting your minds attention, and hearts affection on Him, and praising Him for who He is and what He has done.
Setting our hearts and mind on Him, not on us, but on Him and praising Him, this takes all the personal want out of it because everything that we have is set on Him; looking at who He is and what He has done. In view of this we see that we are nothing and have done nothing, and so it’s all about Him. And our response is that of praise and surrender, ok God it’s all for You, its all to You, and we surrender to You.
What drove home this thinking this week was as I was reading “A Hunger for God” by John Piper, I read this paragraph:
Beware Loving Loving God Rather Than Loving God
This is a very relevant warning for us in a day of great worship renewal. Many people are discovering the joy of meeting God in extended times of emotionally charged singing to the Lord. I personally find such seasons of lingering before the Lord a very rich communion with him. But I see a danger. The danger is that we will subtly slip from loving God in these moments into loving loving God. That’s the way one of my colleagues put it recently. In other words, we begin to savor not the glory of God but the atmosphere created by worship. When this happens we open ourselves to hypocrisy. And under the cloak of great religious fervor, deadly inconsistencies can emerge in our lives (A Hunger for God. pg 133, Piper).
Loving loving God over loving God, has stuck with me since I read it. Seeking satisfaction not in the One who can satisfy but satisfaction in the act of worshipping God, the atmosphere, the emotions stirred up, the songs we love. Making worship all about us and what we want. When its intention is to be all about Him, and lifting Him up, not that He needs us to, but because He and He alone is worthy of all honor and praise for He alone created everything (Revelation 4:11).
Worship begins and ends with Christ, it’s not about us, and if we make it about us we are not worshippers but consumers, simply trying to satisfy a need.