I was in no mood to worship today.
It was a hard week and I wasn’t able to prepare for worship.
Church was so boring.
I didn’t feel like worshipping with the people around me.
Have you ever made these statements? I have. Many times.
What is the problem? Is it my feelings? My busy schedule or my lack of preparation? Is it my church’s fault? Why do we struggle to worship God? In order to understand this, we need to try and understand a few things about worship itself.
We are all worshippers. Whether we admit it or not, we all worship something or the other in our lives. Worship is one of the key themes we see in the Bible. Something Scripture echoes over and over is that God created every human being with a heart that longs to worship, and we are all fundamentally called to worship our Creator. Psalm 148:5 says, “Let them praise the name of the Lord! For He commanded and they were created.” In other words, we are created to worship God — but not all of creation does. Certainly not the God this passage speaks of. A lot of people don’t even believe in God — let alone the God of the Bible.
However, as pastor Joe Anady once said, “Though an atheist may deny the existence of God, he has a god of his own. Someone or something owns his heart. He lives for something. He finds his pleasure and satisfaction somewhere. He has some source of hope. Even the atheist worships as he looks to this thing or that, saying, ‘This is of ultimate worth.’” So the question is not if we worship, but who/what we worship.
The first thing we need to work on is a clear understanding of the object of our worship. To go back to those earlier statements, the real problem is that the focus is not God, but rather ourselves.
‘I’ am disappointed because things didn’t go the way ‘I’ wanted.
‘I’ don’t feel like worshipping.
‘I’ was busy.
What if we took the spotlight off ourselves and trained it on God instead? Would that not change how we worship Him?
When we spend our time knowing and understanding God, there is only one natural response we’ll have: to bow down and worship. Look at all the mighty men in the Bible who worshipped God: Abraham, Moses, Noah, Jacob, Joseph, David… What inspired them to worship God? A clear understanding of who He is.
Look at all the mighty men in the Bible who worshipped God. What inspired them to worship? A clear understanding of who He is
So, the first encouragement for those who struggle to worship God is to intentionally spend time knowing God. Doing so not only creates a reverence for God, but also breaks all the pride we have in our hearts. It won’t be more about us anymore, because we will realise, like David, that we are but dust before God (Psalm 103:14).
How we see God in our lives will define how we worship Him. If we only see Him as a problem-solver, Someone who lifts the hearts of the weary and blesses us materially — if that’s all that God is to us, then we will only worship Him for those things. Those are all true assessments of God, but He is much, much more than that.
One of the common features of those who worshipped God in the Bible was their fear and reverence of God. Every time we read about their worship, we see them prostrate — they “fall/bow down”. As I read such passages, I have to to ask myself if I truly fear God the same way, and am forced to conclude the real issue is that I fail to see Him the way He deserves to be seen. The God of the Bible is the Creator of the entire universe, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. His reign is forever, and none can defeat or overcome Him (not even death). He is the one true King whose judgments are true and just, and He is the only one who can save from sin and hell. He is also the King who will come back to save His people once and for all, and judge the world. Those who see God for who He is will bow down and worship before this eternal King. We need to think far less about ourselves in worship. We need to think instead about God: His character, His attributes, His work and His reign — and watch how that affects our worship. It’s impossible to be bored when we’re dazzled by indescribable majesty.
How we see God in our lives will define how we worship Him
The second reason we struggle to worship is because we fail to resist the world and its pleasures. Anything that takes the place of God is an idol. It can be our money, education, job, possessions, talent… It is the thing we find our utmost joy in, things that we put our hope in — these things, whether we admit it or not, become our ‘god’. When we let these things drive our decisions and become our source of security, the thing without which we don’t know who we’d be, we are essentially worshipping them. This is when God starts looking less attractive to us. This is when we say we don’t “feel” like worshipping, or are too busy.
Here’s a caveat: idols don’t always have to be the things of the world. They can even be things we consider to be good, like our ministry, our family, our children, and our friendships. Sometimes, these things can turn out to be what we are most passionate about and thus become idols in our lives.
Finally, worship is not just a church meeting. One of the biggest lies that Satan has worked into the hearts of many Christians today is that worship is a ‘Sunday thing’. How many of us wake up every day and worship God? Do we, like David, sing songs of praises every day? Most of us don’t, right? We think worship happens only when the church comes together. But we are called to worship God every day of our lives. Often times, we struggle to worship God corporately because we fail to worship God individually. Individual worship will help us prepare and worship effectively with our church.
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