Week #3 Tuesday
- Isaiah 1:11–18
- Hosea 6:6
- John 4:20–26
Questions to Consider
- How would you define worship?
- In what ways do you go through the motions of worship? Are there elements of worship you participate in which you don’t fully understand?
- What does God desire most in our worship?
- How does a relationship with Jesus affect our worship?
Plan of Action
- If there are any rituals of worship you don’t understand, ask your pastor to explain them.
- Examine your calendar and your checkbook. What do these tell you about the gods you serve?
- Consider some ways you might serve God during the week to make your worship on Sunday more meaningful.
Worship is about more than going through the motions. We can show up at church each week. We can say all the right things. We can sing all the right songs. We can wear all the right clothes. But it is not worship if Jesus does not live and dwell in our hearts. In other words it is not about right action. It is about a right heart. This is why David writes in the Psalms:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 (ESV)
It is our prayer that our worship would be more than ritualistic expressions void of meaning, but that our worship would come from the heart.
The truest expressions of worship often do not take place within a church building.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. John 4:23 (ESV)
When Jesus originally spoke the words, he spoke them to a Samaritan woman. In the days of Jesus there was a dispute about the proper place to worship God. The Samaritans said the proper place to worship God was on Mount Gerizim in Samaria. The Jews said the proper place to worship God was on Mount Zion at the Temple in Jerusalem.
Where was the right place? Jesus points out this argument was moot. True worship is not about our physical location. It is about the dwelling place of God in our hearts and lives.
The truest measure of our worship is not what happens on Sunday morning.
The truest measure of our worship is shown at other times through the week. In any given moment we are worshiping. The question is not if we worship, but what we worship. The gods we worship are shown through the way we invest our time, our money, and our passion. Spend 5 minutes with a person and you can tell a lot about the gods that they serve.
Many of us worship our work. Others of us worship entertainment. Some of us worship sports. A few of us worship our possessions. In what ways do you invest yourself? Who or what is it you serve with your life?
Worship is about what motivates us.
It goes back to our motivation. Who are we doing it for? Many of our expressions of worship come back to ourselves. We see God as a divine vending machine. We put the right things in and we will get the right things out. If we pray the right prayers, attend the right church, and follow all the rules then God will be good to us. We believe that by doing the right things he will give us full and happy lives.
But our worship must ultimately be motivated by the love of God. Jesus gave us the gift of salvation. We worship him not because of what we might get from him, but because of what he gave us.
Worship is not about what we get, but what we give.
In most churches there is a time for “the offering.” But all of worship is an offering. Sometimes we offer our voice in song. Other times we offer our ears to hear his Word.
Beyond the Sunday morning experience, we offer our hands and feet. In the simplest expression, worship is service which is rendered to God and others. We worship God through offering acts of mercy, kindness, and compassion in the name of Jesus. Jesus says:
‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40 (ESV)
The people who need the love and compassion of Jesus the most are not often found in a church building on a Sunday morning. Motivated by the love of God in our lives, we take our worship beyond the walls of the church building even to places where we might be reluctant to visit. But we go anyway, compelled by our worship of the Savior to shine his light in the darkness. It’s time to move beyond going through the motions and live the great adventure!