Worship is an interesting subject. I grew up attending pentacostal churches (and I still do) which meant that worship meant raised hands, loud music and sometimes dancing. I know worship is much more than just the ‘praise and worship’ sessions during Church but this has been an amazing revelation so please bare with me.
As a teenager I struggled to find how raising hands was relevant and wondered whether it was authentic. I struggled for years to express myself during praise and worship at Church because I worried that my worship may not be authentic enough. Why was I doing it? To please my mum? The worship leader? My friends? Then came the embarrassment phase – I’m going to look like a loony! Why do people raise their hands anyway? Is there something up there that they’re trying to reach? This conversation went through my mind over and over again for many years. Then God showed me how much He loved me. He healed me and set me free and suddenly, these arguments didn’t have any power.
I still struggled though. I wanted to raise my hands and make a public declaration of my love for Jesus but it was still hard to break the habits I’d wrought over so many years. So this is what I decided. 1. I would ‘practise’ worship during the week, in the privacy of my home. I figured that the more I got used to physically expressing my worship to God, the easier and more natural it would be at church. 2. I decided that each week at Church I’d make an effort to praise God outwardly, even if only for a little while.
To my surprise, it worked! Worship became a natural, enjoyable part of the service for me, instead of just nice music.
According to The Purpose Driven Life, God enjoys worship that is:
- Accurate – We cannot just create our own comfortable or politically correct image of God and worship it. That is idolatry.
- Authentic – When Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart and soul” He meant that worship must be genuine and heartfelt. It is not just a matter of saying the right words; you must mean what you say.
- Thoughtful – God is not pleased with thoughtless singing of hymns, perfunctory praying of cliches, or careless exclamations of “Praise the Lord,” because we can’t think of anything else to say at that moment... Try praising God without using the words praise, hallelujah, thanks or amen. Instead of saying, “We just want to praise you,” make a list of synonyms and use fresh words like admire, respect, value, revere, honor and appreciate.
- Practical – Real worship costs – David knew this and said: “I will not offer to the Lord my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing.” One thing worship costs us is our self-centredness. You cannot exalt God and yourself at the same time.
These are just some tips about pleasing God through our worship. Certainly not a to-do list – just biblical observations from TPDL.
Question of the day: Which is more pleasing to God right now – my public worship or my private worship? What will I do about this?
Have you struggled with authentic worship? How did you overcome?
PLEASE NOTE: Quotations in this and other posts relating to The Purpose Driven Life (usually entitled Day:?) are sourced from The Purpose Driven Life book by Rick Warren unless otherwise stated. This is an independant study and is based on my opinion and experience only. Copies of The Purpose Driven Life book are available for purchase from all good christian books stores, including Koorong. The first seven chapters of the book can be downloaded FREE from Rick Warren’s official site here.