What Hinders Your Worship?

In a recent blog, I dealt with the topic of worship and how worship changes you. J. W. Tozer has said that worship is the missing jewel in evangelical circles. Tozer received his heavenly crown in 1963, so his observation is at least 60 years old. But I believe it is still true today. 

We often refer to what we do on Sunday morning as “going to church.” I submit that going to church and worshiping are not necessarily the same thing.  Worship is transformational, it changes us.  We can attend  “church” services and not come away changed. 

The difference, I think, is in our view of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. What is missing in our attempts at worship? If we do not have a high, exalted view of God, we aren’t worshiping. I recall one occasion when my grandmother was preparing a meal which included her signature squash casserole. Those at the table complimented her on the meal but she felt that something was missing. As she went to clean up the kitchen, she realized she had not put the squash in the casserole. It was good, but it was not what it was intended to be. It was missing a key ingredient. Just like my grandmother’s recipe, there are ingredients that make up worship. If any of these are missing, it is not the real thing.

I think the first ingredient is praise. We can have praise for something without worshiping. But we cannot worship without praising. For example, Steve Jobs was a brilliant individual. I have a high regard for what he accomplished at Apple. But I don’t praise or worship him. Worship is praise carried to infinity. Our worship is unending. Only God is worthy of that worship, but do we praise Him as He deserves?  

The second ingredient is honor. The dictionary defines honor as “high respect or esteem.” We tend to honor people for their accomplishments. Excellent students are referred to as honor students, we honor someone for a great achievement or action. And there is nothing wrong with honoring deserving individuals or groups. But we must honor God, as we cannot worship that which we do not honor.

Passion or mystery is the third ingredient in worship. Passion is described as a “strong and barely controllable emotion.” When we have a Godly passion our human minds cannot comprehend the fullness of God. In relation to God, our passion should be infinite. If we are not passionate about God, if He doesn’t evoke a sense of awe and wonder we cannot worship Him.

Love or adoration is the fourth ingredient. We cannot worship if we don’t love. Adoration is deep love or respect, love taken to the highest level. When we are “in love” our love should be growing. A frequent saying on Valentine’s Day cards goes something like “I love you more today than yesterday, and less than I will tomorrow.” We love God with everything that is within us as it grows daily. 

Worship cannot be half-hearted. I can remember many times in my life when I looked around at the assembled congregation in a church and felt “I hope this is not what Heaven is. They all sound so bored and even apathetic.”  To combine a couple of current expressions we must be “all in” and “all the time” in our worship.”  Our lives, fully immersed in the glory and wonder of God. In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment. His reply “You shall  love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”   When this happens, you can experience worship.  As individual believers and as a church, we need to regain a vision of the Most High God.

Are any of these ingredients missing in your worship? How do you view God? Does your worship change you?

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