“I’m comin’ back to the heart of worship... I’m sorry Lord for this thing I’ve made it when it’s all about you, Jesus.” These lyrics from Matt Redman’s song The Heart of Worship were born out of a season of apathy in Redman’s home church.
The pastor felt the congregation had lost their way and bravely called the congregation to unplug from their sound system and instruments. The call to get back to the heart of worship is what inspired this 1999 song to bring not only Redman’s church back, but also multitudes of believers took pause to evaluate their own motivation in worship as well.
What about you? When you think about “worship” what comes to mind? Is it a time when you felt a particular feeling while the music and lighting were just right? Do you long for a time when your worship seemed sweeter, or more genuine?
To learn how to breathe new life into worship, let’s visit three women in Scripture:
The Woman Who Anointed Jesus’ Feet with Her Tears
“And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.” (Luke 7:37-38)
I love the story of this woman who fell at Jesus’ feet in humble adoration. The Bible refers to her as a “sinner.” Her community would have called her a prostitute. The Pharisee thought to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” (verse 39)
I love that Jesus read his mind and responded by telling a parable about the two men forgiven of their debts. One owed a little and the other owed a great deal.
To the judgmental Pharisee Jesus’ question drove His point home, “Now which of them will love him more?”
The Pharisee responded with the obvious answer, “The one for whom he cancelled the larger debt.”
Talk about genuine worship. This woman knew how wretched she had been before she met Jesus. She knew that without His saving grace she had no hope of ever turning from her sinful past. But Jesus rescued her and for that she could not help but weep at his feet in absolute gratitude.
What about you? Do you ponder who you would be if Jesus had not shown you mercy through salvation? Maybe you were raised in the church and accepted Christ at a young age. Do you find you take for granted the new life God granted to you?
It is easy to become complacent or less thankful if you don’t really think you have “been forgiven much” like the woman in Luke 7.
I remember when God stopped me in my tracks and broke my heart over my complacency. I had just had an encounter with a particular woman who was just mean-spirited. I remember thinking, I would never treat anyone in such a manner.
In that moment of arrogance, the Spirit whispered to my heart, You would be her if it wasn’t for Me.
Wow, right? The words cut to the heart of my pride and brought me to my knees in humble repentance. I am painfully aware of the woman I would be without Christ––how about you?
Take a moment and ask God to show you the woman you would be without the Holy Spirit living in you. You know––the person you tend to be on the days you’re not abiding Christ. And then take some time to thank Jesus for rescuing you. That’s worship.
The Woman at the Well
John 4 tells the story of the Samaritan woman who Jesus offered Himself, The Living Water. When He confronted her about her sin of having five husbands and now living with a man who was not her husband, she changed the subject and wanted to talk “religion.” But when she realized Jesus was the true Messiah, she believed and went to tell everyone that she had met Him.
Worship is not just sitting at Jesus’ feet, but it is also a lifestyle of serving Christ. This woman’s immediate act of worship was to GO and TELL everyone about Jesus.
Let this be the year you determine to boldly proclaim the Gospel to your generation. That’s worship.
Mary Anointed Jesus’ Feet with Ointment
Mary was the sister who sat at Jesus’ feet as He taught in their living room. Jesus said, “Martha you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary” (Luke 10:41-42).
In John 4:24, Jesus instructs us to “worship in spirit and truth.” This signifies that:
TRUTH is the distinctive mark of true worship.
Mary set aside other things to sit and learn from Jesus. She had chosen the better thing. That’s worship.
Do you make it a point to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn from Him through the pages of Scripture? If you’re too busy doing “good things” to sit at Jesus’ feet then it’s time to reevaluate your priorities.
Worship is not about mustering up a feeling on a Sunday morning while you sing songs. No, true worship is born out of a lifestyle of abiding in Jesus through prayer and studying His Word, and repenting when He convicts you of sin.
There is no shortcut. If you do not determine to spend time knowing and loving Jesus through the pages of Scripture, your worship will amount to little more than an emotional surge that has more to do with a self-focused desire to “feel” something, rather than humble gratitude and awe of His holiness.
When did Mary anoint Jesus’ feet with the oil? It was after her brother had been brought back to life by Jesus. When Lazarus died Mary was distraught over their loss. Jesus wept with the sisters before He raised him up.
What did Mary learn in the time of her deepest grief? She learned something new about Jesus’ character. She learned the depth of His love and concern as He wept with her.
When you walk through your darkest hours, Jesus reveals His character in ways you never would have known. Mary’s adoration for Jesus grew and was evident when she anointed His feet with her hair.
And what do you suppose filled the room? The scent of the perfume. And days later when she walked through town people would smell the ointment.
Genuine worship changes us. It wafts off of us and the scent draws others to want to know more about the lover of our souls. That’s worship.
In review, to breathe new life into your worship:
- Daily give humble thanks for your salvation.
- Determine to tell others about Jesus.
- Know Jesus through Scripture.
- Let the scent of your true worship draw others to want to know Christ.
Rhonda Stoppe is a pastor’s wife, speaker, and author. As the NO REGRETS WOMAN, Rhonda has more than 20 years experience of helping women live life with no regrets. Through humor, and honest communication, she helps women build NO REGRETS LIVES by applying sound teaching from Scripture. Rhonda appears on radio programs, speaks at women’s events, MOPs, and homeschool conventions throughout the nation. Rhonda Stoppe’s book Moms Raising Sons to be Men is mentoring thousands of moms to guide sons toward a no-regrets life. Her new book If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy: And Other Myths Wives Believe is helping countless women build no-regrets marriages.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: January 11, 2017
Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. With more than 30 years experience of helping women build no-regrets lives. I could have listened to Rhonda talk all night, is what women say about Rhonda’s enthusiastic, humorous, transparent teaching, and zeal as an evangelist.
She’s committed to fulfilling the Titus 2:4 commission by mentoring, teaching and writing books that are inspiring, grounded in Scripture and easy to read––like you're visiting with a friend over coffee.
Rhonda is the author of 6 books and appears on numerous radio programs including Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and Dr. James Dobson’s FamilyTalk, & hosts The No Regrets Hour. She’s an evangelist and speaker at women’s events, College Women’s Chapel, Pastor’s Wives Conferences, MOPs and Homeschool Conventions. Sharing the gospel at her NoRegretsWoman Conference is her sweet spot. Rhonda is a regular contributor for Crosswalk and many other magazines.
Rhonda ministers alongside her husband Steve, who for 20 years has pastored First Baptist Church of Patterson, California. They live out their own Real Life Romance writing books and speaking at their No Regrets Marriage Conferences, but their favorite ministry is their family. They have four grown children and 10 grandchildren. To learn more about Rhonda’s speaking topics, watch her teaching and to book Rhonda for your next event visit: NoRegretsWoman.com