Worship as though you are Saved!

When is the last time that you thought about how you worship God? For me I guess I had never really thought about how I worshiped God, instead I tended to focus more on whether or not I was getting something out of my worship experience instead of worshiping to praise God. Over the past few months I have really been taking a look at my worship and what I found was that a lot of the time I was not really worshiping God, instead I was actually seeking an emotion or response.

Matthew 15:7-9 (ESV)

You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me: in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

When we are approaching God with a wrong heart, with a self-seeking heart, we are being hypocrites. We do not honor God, though we may say we are praising and worshiping Him. Instead we dishonor God by thinking of ourselves more than Him.

Matthew 15:18-20

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.

Worship is a heart issue, not an emotion issue even though worshiping does elicit emotion, after all can we really approach the Most High God and not be overwhelmed by all that He is? When we are initially saved, if we truly give ourselves to God, it is an act of worship and submission. It is a time when we realize that we need God and that He is worthy of giving Him our lives, even if we do not fully understand what that means at the time. But we must not stay as infants who rely solely upon milk and must be fed by others in order to survive.

1 Corinthians 3:1-3

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh.

Hebrews 5:13-14

For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

We who call ourselves Christians have been saved by God’s grace and because of this we have taken on a new identity. We are no longer the world’s and we must change our ways. If our conversion does not transform us then how can we say that we have been saved? Furthermore can we even say that we have been saved? If we have truly been saved then we have died to our old selves and have been given a new life. No longer do we belong to the world, to Satan, but we belong to God and have been given a new identity in Him.

1 Peter 2:9-12

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deed and glorify God on the day of visitation.

God’s grace and love are not something to take for granted. When we are saved we become priests of God, a holy nation, a people for his own possession. We become these things so that we may proclaim to the world how excellent God is who by his grace has shone is face upon us and called us out of darkness. Take that in for a moment…we are priests of a holy nation of God’s possession. When I think about this the words of Amazing Grace come to mind. “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”

If you have been found then proclaim it, it you can see then let the whole world know and give God all of the glory, and honor, and praise that He deserves. Do not be content with living the same way that you did before you were saved lest you turn away from God and fall back into your old ways. When we truly understand all that God has done for us and approach His throne and worship Him with a right heart we cannot help but to praise Him.

Worship is not about us…it is about God. Do not think that you are truly worshiping God if you are not filled with joy. Do not think that you are honoring God if you just go through the motions. Do not think that your praises will be heard by God if they come from an evil and selfish heart. Instead let us humble ourselves and remember all that God has done. Remember His creation, how He led His people out of captivity and the crippling rule of Pharaoh. Remember how God fed us manna from heaven as He guided us daily to the Promised Land. Remember that Jesus died for us so that we could have life. Remember that when Jesus ascended He gave us the Holy Spirit and through Him the power to do even greater things than He did. Remember all that He has done in your own lives, how He has provided, how He has sustained, how He has taken care of you.

If a friend saved your life would you forget it, would you talk stop talking to him or talk to him as though he did not matter? No. If someone gave you a million dollars would you honor them by be ecstatic to see them by thanking them for all that they did or would you simply go about living life as you had before? In Christ we have been given everything, we have been given life everlasting, we have been given a royal priesthood, we have been given the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us, to comfort us, and to help us to do the things that Jesus did and even more.

My friends, we must not take God for granted, we must not take worship for granted. Let us worship Him with all of our hearts and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If we sense God telling us to do something and it does not go against Scripture then pray about it and follow if you believe it is from God. God is not silent! God is not dead! And God deserves our whole lives, the lives that we said we gave Him in the beginning.

When you sing to God, sing to Him alone as if no one else is around. If you are struck with reverence and feel the need to kneel before God then kneel before Him and show Him honor. If you are excited to see Him, then show Him. Do not be conformed to the ways of the world or hindered by what others might think. Instead think about what God might think. Do you want God to know that you love Him and cannot live without Him or do you want Him to think that you are more worried about your self-image, what others might think, or about getting what you want rather than honoring Him?

How we worship God directly reflects how we think about God and vice-a-versa. Somewhere along the line I forgot about this and put my worship life on auto-pilot and diminish, but NO MORE! God is alive! God is the Creator and the Sustainer! I have been given new life and I am thankful and will praise God with all of my heart. I do not want to dishonor God by having Him think that I do not care that He pulled me out of the grave and gave me life. NO! I love my Father and by his grace and power I will do my best to honor Him in all that I do.

I have made my choice, have you? Will you honor God or will you turn your back on Him and approach his throne with an evil and unrepentant heart? God knows, we cannot fake it. If you have fallen away then get back up and run back to God. If you have not given God your all then start today. And if you are already doing this then raise others up around you, teach them about God and show them how to love God with all of their heart. Our life in these earthly vessels is short and thus we only have a short time to make a difference in this world and because life is short I do not want to have to worry about whether or not I have truly accepted God and have been saved. I want to know and to stand strong knowing that I serve an awesome and powerful God.

Don’t be a hurdle to others knowing Christ

Recently I posted about what life is like for the unsaved and the burdens in their life that they carry to include the burden of trying to enter into the church. Last night at group this discussion was brought up again, specifically about the hurdles that Satan places in the paths of people when they are trying to reach the Lord. We, as Christians, must never forget that Satan wants nothing more than to have people follow him and worship him. As a result of this desire he does everything that he can to keep people from God whether it is by keeping them busy, scared, indifferent, or otherwise. I posed the question last night in which I wondered if there was ever a point where people are so far that they no longer hear the voice of God telling them to turn around. Reflecting back we were able to conclude, at least in our own lives, that we were always at least mildly aware of God speaking to us whether we recognized the voice of our Father at that time or not.

Another point of interest was the thought of fear or rejection that seemed to be a common feeling. Fear and rejection can come in many different forms. They can come in the form of thoughts and disillusionment and unfortunately some are actually done by the church body while others yet come from the world who is telling us that we are not enough. As human beings we have a funny way of trying to justify ourselves by comparing ourselves to other people either by condemning others or by condemning ourselves. Often times we look at the sin in our own lives and then compare it to someone who has more sin and we are happy that we are where we are at. This can be and is often times used as an excuse not to change. Other times we look to others and the lack of apparent sin in their lives and we become envious or we have feelings that we will never be good enough because there is no way that we could ever be as good as that person. Luckily for us “good enough” has never been a requirement, for we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and as Christians we have been justified by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ who shed His blood to pay for our sins (Romans 3:24-25).

Sin is sin no matter how big. Certain sins seem to be greater than others such as murder, but sin separates us from God no matter how great of sin we view it as. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death.” It does not specify death as being confined to those who murder, commit adultery, steal, or even curse. Paul simply says that the wages of sin is death and it includes all sin from the smallest to the largest. So the next time that you start comparing yourself to someone else remember that we all fall short, the only difference is whether or not we repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness from our Father.

Father we thank you for the redemptive work of Christ who paid for our sins even though we did not and do not deserve it. Forgive us for our sins. Forgive us for the apparent sins that we commit as well as the sins that are hidden away that only you know about. Lord we give you our lives and submit to you fully. Teach us to be fully obedient and teach us to love all those around us rather than judge them and condemn them. Teach us to see others just as you do. Thank you for your love and compassion towards us even though we still fall short. In Jesus’ name. Amen.