It’s not uncommon for many of us to walk away from a Sunday morning worship service relatively unmoved. Despite the fact that we gathered to worship the King of kings and Lord of lords, we are not always changed.
Anyone who has ever been in a service where the Spirit of God was moving in the hearts of the individuals can acknowledge the presence of something supernatural drawing them to worship. But moments like that are rare, and trying to cultivate those moments when the Spirit is not moving is one of the surest ways to fall into carnal worship.
When the Spirit is not intent on reviving our hearts, it can often feel rather lackluster. This usually leads us to complain about things like the style of music or the length of the sermon. Yet, in those special occasions when the Spirit does move, it is not based on the externals. If we are not moved, it says a lot more about our hearts than our environment. Christians living in hostile areas around the world do not have the luxuries of powerpoint or pipe organs, yet if we were to join them on a Sunday morning, our worship performance would be put to shame.
One of the main reasons we feel unimpressed by the average worship service is due to our consumerist mindset. We show up on a Sunday morning and we expected to be served or entertained. But while the Spirit may draw our affections, worship is not something that happens to us, but something we are commanded to do, to bring, and to share.
Something We Come To Do
We sing to one another in Songs, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs because we need to hear from each other. We need to hear the gospel, and in sharing the good news we are also elevating Christ in our hearts. We sing because it is a picture of the unity that comes through the Spirit who draws us to worship. By singing together we demonstrate our fellowship in the gospel.
Worship is not an event we show up to, but something we come to do. When I was in training for the ministry, I thought I needed to have my own role in worship, an area to showcase my gifts. My pastor told me that my most important ministry in the Church was to show up on Sunday morning and worship with the congregation. That revolutionized my thinking. Worship is the purpose of our gathering and it is something we all participate in together.
Something We Come To Bring
In most cases, the worship service is planned out by just a few members of the Church’s leadership. We have an order of service that tells us when to stand and when to sit, what to sing and what to recite. While there’s nothing wrong with this, it often gives people the impression that there is nothing they have to bring to the service, except their tithes and offerings of course. Unfortunately, this means that people are showing up expecting to be served. It’s like going to a potluck dinner without bringing anything and then complaining that they aren’t serving our favorite dish, or worse, we show up and nobody has brought anything because they all expect to be catered to, that everything would be provided for them.
Worship is not something we come to get, but what we come to bring. Psalm 50 gives us a beautiful picture of what God expects us to bring to our worship. “Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me… For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills… If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine… Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:8-15 ESV). So often we bring to God what we think He wants, but what do you get for the God who has everything? We bring our thanksgiving. We commit our hearts and lives to Him as a living sacrifice. We praise Him for the work of our salvation. That is what we bring to worship, and everyone is responsible for their own portion.
Someone We Come to Meet
There is something beautiful about a Church that comes together in the unity of the Spirit. I have the privilege of going to various churches as an itinerant preacher, and I always feel welcomed by the Body of Christ, even when I’m visiting a Church for the first time. But fellowship is not the main reason that we gather on a Sunday morning. We come to do business with God.
Sometimes worshiping in community is hard. A quick glance around the room may reveal some with their eyes closed and their arms stretched out, while others may be stoic with a scowl on their face. This can be rather distracting, but when we turn our eyes upon Jesus, the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t areas that need to be corrected in our worship services. There are a lot of modern conventions of worship that fail in elevating Christ in our hearts and lives. But our worship is primarily about a ‘who,’ not a ‘what’ or a ‘how,’ and it is hard to be judgmental toward those around us when our hearts are fully exposed to the righteousness of God and covered by the blood of Christ.
What Does Your Worship Move You To?
In the end, we want to be moved to worship God. We want the Spirit to draw our affections. When we commit ourselves to show up to worship, to bring our sacrifice of praise, and to focus on the One who is worthy of our praise, then we will begin to worship God is spirit and truth. When we share in that experience of worship, our cups will overflow with living water, and then our worship will move us to do great things for the Kingdom of God. You see, our worship is not just about us being filled, it is about fulfilling the great commission. So our worship should move us to action, and as others see this good work in us, they will join with us in giving glory to our Father in heaven.
Adam Miller is the President and Host of Songtime and can be heard daily on the Songtime Radio Broadcast.
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