It is so easy in a society with such freedom of religion to take worship for granted.
Places that execute severe persecution upon faithful believers cultivate the most passionate worshipers you can find. I remember during my season of missionary training, my class read The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun. Enlightenment overcame the countenances of all these young adults (including myself) who were literally giving their lives to the gospel. Out of their hearts came the genuine question, “Am I really a Christian?”
Worship without sacrifice is simply self-serving. We are idolizing ourselves and our own needs above true relationship with God. Even the act of checking worship off our to-do list invalidates the entire purpose.
All this to say, sometimes we have expectations of how God should work for us. Even when our heart is genuinely seeking Him, we define receiving what we need by the fuzzy feeling while singing a song on Sunday morning at church. This evening, I found myself praying in the spirit for an extended period. Once I hit the bounds of my comfort zone, I began to question what I was doing, but I felt the tug on my heart to keep pressing. Half an hour later, I was questioning myself. Is there not another way to do this?
Naaman had the same question when he desired healing from leprosy.
So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage. (2 Kings 5:9-12)
How many times have you responded to God this way? “Wait a minute, can’t I do <;insert excuse here>; instead?”
It is necessary to sacrifice in worship; even if it is as simple as a sacrifice of our own understanding. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts higher than our thoughts. If we choose not to give into lukewarm spirituality that Jesus will spit out of His mouth (Rev 3:16) or lost saltness that will be trampled underfoot (Mt 5:13), we must learn to become true worshipers.
Jesus, teach us how to worship as you have called us: in spirit and in truth. I repent for the ways I have resisted you in worship and cry out for an uprising sacrifice of worship in my generation. Amen.
- What Does Your Worship Say About God? (craigsturm.wordpress.com)
- The Power of Witnessing Someone Else’s Worship (paperaltar.wordpress.com)
- 10 Sings Your Christianity is Too Comfortable
- Welcome to church: DO NOT make yourself Comfortable