I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart.
One of the most respected theologians in evangelical Christianity has made some disturbing observations about the quality of worship in the contemporary church:
“Evangelical Protestantism is in trouble today. … The complaint I hear most often is that people can no longer sense the sacred. … The atmosphere in most of our services is clubby and convivial rather than adoring and expectant. What is missing is the fear of God, the experience of God as the Wholly Other. Worship has become performance rather than praise.”
These are strong words, but many Christians would have to admit that they ring true. Legions of people are coming to church every Sunday, going through the motions of worship, mouthing words of praise and adoration to God, and yet going home with their hearts unchanged.
Capturing the heart of true worship is a challenge the church faces in every generation. A.W. Tozer, a great Christian author in the middle of the twentieth century, called worship “the missing jewel” of the church. If it is, then we ought to do everything we can to rediscover this jewel.
Why do church services that offer little more than a “clubby” environment that fails to honor God? The answer lies in the fact that we were created with the capacity to know God and experience His presence and to return unto Him worship that is worthy of Him. Nothing less than God-honoring, God-exalting worship can fill the longing in our hearts to commune with Him.
The Bible makes clear that worship is a priority issue. The first commandment that God gave His people concerned their worship. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2-3). Make God the center of your worship, in all you say and do, in and out of church, and with all your heart.