What Is Real Worship?
Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
When I was a kid growing up in the sixties and seventies, I watched my share of TV on the few channels available at that time (ABC, NBC, CBS and two UHF stations that always came in a little fuzzy). During those hours each day of TV watching (cartoons and sitcoms mostly), I remember one specific ad campaign for Coca-Cola: IT’S THE REAL THING.
Coca-Cola was not to be confused with the cheap imitation, “me too!” colas desperately vying for market share with a less expensive product. Coca-Cola was the Real Thing! If you were to drink a real cola that truly satisfied, you had to drink Coca-Cola. That was the gist of the ad campaign.
THE REAL THING WITH GOD
When it comes to worshiping God, is there a real thing and an imitation? YES! Jesus said that there are people who worship God in vain (it is futile, empty and meaningless) because they don’t worship Him from the heart with all that they are, with all that is within them. Tragically, many people who call themselves Christians give lip service to God in worship while their hearts are a million miles away.
Does God know the difference between lip service and heart? OF COURSE! Even you and I know the difference between someone who is truly engaged vs. someone who is merely going through the motions.
IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM
The fall of Adam and Eve caused human beings to go from a God focus to a self focus. That is why when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, they immediately realized they were naked. To be sure, they were naked before they ate, but they did not know it BECAUSE their focus was not on self, it was on God.
A self-centered, “it’s all about me” focus is really the root of sin. Sin should be spelled this way:
Sin is an “I” problem. And we have a great tendency to bring in a self-centered focus when we gather to worship God.
Newsflash: if you worship God with a self-centered focus – let’s sing the songs I like, let’s do things my way, let’s call attention to me now – your worship is in vain. It is a cheap imitation that amounts to nothing in God’s sight.
Vain, heartless worship is what God’s people were giving him in the opening chapter of the Book of Isaiah ... and God was sick and tired of it. Hear what he had to say about it in Isaiah 1:12-14.
When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony? Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting— they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
Real worship is not a Sunday morning event; it is a 24-7 loving, adoring, “all that is within me” response to the revelation of God … worshiping Him from the depths of our heart for who He is and what He has done.
Perhaps it has been a while since you have truly worshiped. Perhaps you have never really done it. Today can be the day for you. It’s all about Him. We love, because He first loved us. Let your mind and heart get lost in His love today … and respond to Him with all that is within you.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.