When our view of God is faulty, our worship goes from amazed adoration, to mild appreciation, and finally to self gratification.
This explains why too often we leave the corporate worship setting no different than when we arrived. We've come for the wrong reasons. We've come to get something from God rather than render to him all he deserves. And this can only mean we've come with a wrong-headed understanding of who he is, what he's done, and how radically he has reformed our lives.
We worship a sovereign God. There is no other kind. God is uncontainable. His power, love, goodness, justice, holiness, and knowledge are infinite. He knows all things, including the hidden thoughts of your heart and mine. And yet he invites us to him, as a Father does his children, because of Christ.
When we gather together as the family of God it must not be primarily for us. It must not be primarily to have our weaknesses strengthened, our fears removed, or our emotions delighted. It must not be to have our sinfulness pampered, our consumerism satisfied, or our love for music met. It must not be to have our ears tickled, our eyes filled with wonderful images or our minds merely filled with facts.
Our coming together as a worshipping community must be first and foremost and ever and always to express to a holy God our continual awe at his greatness, and our consistent amazement that he has granted us righteous status before him, as beloved children, all because of Jesus Christ.
It is this bedrock truth upon which all the rest is built. We worship through music, preaching, prayer, and fellowship only as they flow from a right view of God and his redemptive work on our behalf. Without that, our hearts will try to find lasting satisfaction in the tools of worship rather than the God we are to worship.
We will ask of music more than it can deliver, even as we tell ourselves our emotional responses are true worship. We will re-imagine worship as instruction and consider that when we have learned things we have worshipped correctly. We will make fellowship our object when it rightfully is a consequence of the love of neighbor that only flows authentically from a deep and passionate love for God. Sadly, without a proper view of worship as God-directed, we will allow ourselves to settle for some semblance of self-gratification through the music, preaching, and fellowship ... the very things intended to point us first to God himself.
Let me say it again: When our view of God is faulty, our worship goes from amazed adoration, to mild appreciation, and finally to self gratification. May it not be so among us.