Friday, November 7, 2008

Heart of worship by Wilfred Chua

WHAT is worship? WHY do we worship? WHO do we worship? HOW do we worship? Many of us, we can come to cell group on Friday night or church service on Saturday afternoon and say that we have worshiped God by singing songs and praises to him . However, many of us do not have the right concept and attitude when worshipping God. That’s why sometimes when we go to church or cell group to worship, we don’t really feel the presence of God. We ask ourselves, why all the others seem to be really into worshipping and enjoying God’s presence but I just don’t feel the worship. How come I feel spiritually dry and lifeless? How come God seems to be so distant and so far away?

WHAT is worship? Worship is the ACT OF MANIFYING GOD. By worshipping God, we enlarge our vision on Him just like how a magnifying glass enlarges the vision of an object. Many times in our life, we are so focus on OURselves, OUR problems and OUR worries until we forget about God. Because of this, He seems to be small and distanT. He seems to be so far away. But the reality is that, God’s status doesn’t change but our perception on Him can. Thus, by worshipping God, we are actually enlarging God’s presence in our lives.

WHY do we worship? There are many reasons why we should worship God. First of all, we worship God because He’s great. We worship Him because His work is awesome. We worship Him because He’s the creator of all things. We worship Him because He is worthy of our praise. Worshipping God whether at church or during devotion time is the climax and best part of my day. After class, whether I’m happy, sad or tired, I’ll just go to my room and sing some worship songs while playing guitar, enjoying His presence and love. By magnifying God with my worship, all my problems and worries will seem to be small because during worship my God will seem big. Because I know that there is no problem in the world too big for Him to solve.

HOW do we worship God? We worship Him by doing any act that magnifies God. For example, we can worship God by singing to him, praying to him, reading his words or attending the church service. Last time during the Old Testament, in the book of Exodus, God gives Israelites the instruction on how to worship. He gives them detailed instruction on how to build the tabernacle and how sacrifices are carried out. But why did God ask them to sacrifice a bull or goat as worship to Him? Is it because He needs it?

Psalm 50:8-10 – the verse states that God owns the cattle of thousands hills and thus, He didn’t really need the Israelites to sacrifice bulls to Him. Then, why did He require this sacrifice as worship? God did this because He was looking at the HEART of those who sacrifice to Him. He wants to see whether the Israelites offer their sacrifice whole-heartedly or halfheartedly.

1 Samuel 16:7 - This is because God doesn’t look at our outward appearance but He looks into our heart. When He looks at us, He will not see whether we are good looking or whether we dress nicely or what car we drive but He’s more interested in the condition of our HEART. When He sees us, He wants to see if our HEARTS are really committed to Him. Thus, from the worship, He will know about our heart.

Micah 6:6-8. He says God has no need for us to give Him what is already His; He wants instead is for us not only to worship Him but to be obedient to His ways by acting justly and be merciful. This is what He required of us instead of ritualistic, half-hearted sacrifice and worship that the Israelites offer Him. If God wants ritualistic worship, He’ll just create zombies that will worship Him day and night. Instead, He wants us to walk and commune with Him, day by day, each moment of our life. When we do this, our worship to Him will come naturally for us. It won’t be like ritual but more like outpouring of our love to God for His love and faithfulness.

HOW to worship God? How often we are like the Israelites that do not take worship seriously. Sometime, we are like the lukewarm Christian in book of Revelation that He wanted to spit out. This lukewarm behaviour can be seen by our action when we lose our enthusiasm to worship and serve God. Sometimes, we even have to drag ourselves to church or CG each weekend because it’s expected from us. In our mind, we may feel that it’s a burden because we feel like using the time to sleep, study or work. When we have this mindset, we may let our mind wander off and we think of some other things instead of focusing on God during worship. Sometimes, when we sing songs or hymns, we don’t even mean what we are singing. When we do all these, worshiping God will feel like a burden and can cause us to be weary. This type of attitude does not please God. He wants us to either worship fully or not worship at all. More often than not, we are like the Israelites in Malachi 1:13 in which they complain that worship God has become tiring to them and they even sacrifice crippled animals to God. How often we did the same when we worship God halfheartedly? When we offer halfhearted worship to God, it is like sacrificing sick and lame animals to Him during the Old Testament time. If God is angry to what they did in the past, why should he be any different now?

What should we do to worship God properly? Let’s ask ourselves, do we come prepared for worship before each church service? Do we worship God with a tidak apa attitude like the Israelites? Suppose if we are granted audience with Yang Dipertuan Agong, can we just see him casually without any preparation? Of course not, it’s disrespectful! How can it be any less for our heavenly king? How would God feel if we treat worship lightly? From now on can we make commitment with God, that we worship him fullheartedly and we will not give Him half-hearted worship anymore? That we prepare ourselves spiritually, physically and emotionally before going to church to worship? That we come to church or CG thirsting for an encounter with God? That our worship to Him will no longer be like a ritual but something that excites us? That we don’t just worship on Saturday and Sunday but all the days of the week? I believe with all my heart, if we commit to do all these, we will have the heart of worship that will really please God. The heart of worship is the HEART that CONSTANTLY magnifying God and a heart that proclaimed that is all about you, God. For the Lord looks at our hearts, not our outward appearance when we worship Him.

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