By: Joshua Woodlief
It costs me nothing. Nothing. This worship that I offer up to my Savior, it costs me nothing. My worship is convenient and comfortable. My worship happens when and where I want it to. I only press in when I want to, when convenience affords itself. David says "I will not offer up sacrifices that cost me nothing", but I say "I will offer up sacrifices that won't hurt to much and make me feel good". As a church we have said to our Holy God that we will worship and love him when it is convenient. I am sick to death of convenience.
Am i the only one that is drowning in comfort? Am I the only one who sees that worship should be so much more?
I am a firm believer that we should welcome everyone into our churches. We want people to get involved and begin to pursue Christ. I believe that people are drawn to friendly and engaging environments. When it comes to worship though, I just don't see how to water it down and make it comfortable anymore. Instead of watering down our worship for the comfort of someone, maybe we should challenge that someone to go deeper in worship. We serve and worship a God that is not comfortable. Why then should we pursue his heart comfortably? Why is it that we come to these buildings every Sunday and worship, but on Monday we forget about Jesus. Sunday worship is great and I believe that it can be a true celebration, but there has to be more. I am craving more!
Part of our problem is that we are selfish worshipers. We make comments about how we "felt" during worship or how we "enjoyed" the song list. That's great and all, but when did worship start being about us. I'm fairly certain that God has exclusive rights to our praise. If this is true then why do we make comments like this on a consistent basis? When worship on Sunday becomes selfish then worship on Monday-Saturday can only follow suit. Worship based on feeling and not on our reaction to the love of God will only end up in a mess. Yes I said it. It's a bunch of crap. When we constantly respond only when we "feel" God and not in the valleys of life our worship is not real. God can move us to an emotional response in worship, but if we base the validity of our worship on whether or not we "feel" it, we will be disappointed more often than not.
How do we teach and help others understand that true worship is living a life of sacrifice and obedience and not just showing up on a Sunday and singing some songs? How can we continue to call what we do worship when in reality all it is, at it's best, is comfort and convenience?
I believe that God has to be sick of us showing up weekly to these worship services and leaving the same way we came in. We remain unchanged. We remain complacent. When we worship on Sundays it should move us toward the heart of God. When we move toward his heart and we begin to live an obedient life, this is worship, real everyday worship.
I like what Isaiah says on this topic. This is Isaiah 1:13-17 in the Message. God gives him this to say, "Quit your worship charades. I can't stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings. Meetings, meetings, meetings, I can't stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You've worn me out! I'm sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer-performance, I'll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I'll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you've been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don't have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless."
God doesn't want more services he wants our lives. He wants our obedience. He wants us clean. This is the heart of true worship. Obedience is Worship. Worship formed from obedience leads to Justice. Justice leads to a changed world. We can have services every day of the week and no one will be better for it. But if we live lives of obedience then we can literally see the world change. This type of worship will require sacrifice.