If you’re just joining me, I sincerely welcome you, and invite you to join my discussion on authentic worship, and the obstacles keeping us from it.
One such obstacle is friendship with the world in its various forms…
In my last post, I considered this idea that we can’t rely on our feelings alone to gauge our love for God.
Because Jesus says if we love Him, we will obey Him.
because there’s an equally dangerous extreme in the other direction.
And it just so happens to be the next obstacle to authentic worship:
overemphasis on outward obedience, disregarding the state of the heart.
You see, just as our hearts can deceive us…
we can use our actions to deceive others.
And so when I do more…
I must be very careful of my motives.
Because if it’s to garner praise from others…
or simply out of habit,
instead of spilling over from a heart full of lavish love for the One who loved me first…
well, I’ve considered this before and concluded that these efforts amount to waste, pure and simple.
You see, when I have a nice, lengthy list of the things I’m doing…
ways I’m serving…
what I’m giving…
then it becomes a lot about me.
And not nearly enough about Him.
So what’s my point here?
First we see the heart is deceptive and we can’t trust our feelings alone as a reliable indicator of our love for God, but should be careful to also consider our actions…
And NOW I’m suggesting our actions can conceal sinful motives and we can’t trust our actions alone as a reliable indicator of our love for God, but should also check our hearts.
What’s up with that?!
Well, I don’t think we have to choose here. There’s no either/or.
True worship involves both the heart and the actions. If either is lacking, we’re not worshipping authentically.
I think of Christ’s warning to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:
I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for My name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.
This part of Christ’s church was doing some great things…
Commitment to sound doctrine? Check.
Not so much.
And Christ noticed all they were doing. He didn’t ask them to stop.
He had something against them:
lack of love.
So if I’m busy doing a lot of stuff that makes me look like a good Christian…
but I’ve lose my desire to build the relationship that makes me a Christian in the first place,
there’s a good chance I need to come back to my first love.
A phrase was recently brought to my mind from Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 10, where God promises under the new covenant to “put [His] law in their minds and write it on their hearts.”
“…write it on their hearts.”
It seems to me that this means love.
Because not only does His Spirit within us remind us of His law, bringing it to our minds.
His Spirit within us allows us to love His law, writing it on our hearts.
Obedience for a believer worshipping authentically isn’t drudgery.
And let’s not forget the opening verses of I Corinthians 13:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
So I have a beautifully freeing message for you today:
Authentic worship isn’t about doing more things. Doing bigger things. Doing better things.
It’s about building a love relationship with your God…
and then doing what He tells you to do.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
And guess what?
His commands are not burdensome (I John 5:3).
His yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
So lay down your heavy burdens. Put down the drudgery. Let go of the compulsion to do more.
Instead, accept the divine invitation to spend some time with the One who redeemed you from self-striving pseudo-perfection.
And I can promise that as you do, your love for Him will be rekindled.
And that little fire will soon be a life ablaze for His glory.
Has God spoken to your heart about this matter of authentic worship? It would be a true delight to hear from you. Please take a moment and share below.
Written by Jennifer Clarke