You’re believing a lot of lies about worship. At least three of which are extremely common. I grapple with these, myself. Nevermind that I’ve been walking with the Lord since 2001. This great, mysterious, and awesome God—in the deepest sense of the word—deserves my sincerest reverence and undivided attention. And I know that!
In a world where reverence—the heightened awareness of God’s majesty—is almost nonexistent, I am ever-conscious of this Holy King before Whom legions of worshipers array themselves, prostrated before His throne! Maybe it’s this vivid picture that makes me feel so small.
But here’s the kicker: He’s Daddy. Jesus bought me and adopted me into the precious, inner circle, the FAMILY of the Most High (Romans 8:15). With the knowledge of His holiness, reverence and sonship should be held in tension, but I’m doing doing something wrong.
I’m believing three lies about worship; and you are too.
Lie #1. I have to be presentable. This is going to sound ridiculous, but I don’t know how many times I have sensed the Spirit of God beckoning me to enter into His presence, but I think to myself, “I need to take a shower first, and then comb my hair and brush my teeth. Then I’ll be ready for His presence. Sadly, so many times after I reach a point where I feel presentable, the moment has eluded me and I eluded the Father’s call.
The Truth: There is a mostly-beautiful reason that we feel the need to dress to impress the King of Kings, which is the desire to give the Lord our best. Excellence. Esther is a prime example of tenuously preparing for her audience with the king. (Esther 2:12-13)
But there is also a sinister idea at play: our awareness of our unworthiness will see to it that we never have an audience with the King. Hebrews 4:16 tells us to enter with boldness into His presence. The days of cleansing ourselves to be presentable to the Lord are over. The blood of the Lamb has made us as desirable as we’ll ever be to the King. He sees a child whom He longs to love, not a homeless vagabond to shoo away.
2. I have to want it. I’m cringing right now as I reflect on the hundreds of opportunities of worship that I’ve missed simply because I didn’t like the song. But that’s the problem isn’t it—that we whittle worship down to tempos and tunes? Opportunities for worshiping the Lord are often sullied for lack of desire.
The Truth: Worship is rarely preceded by strong desire, but strong desire is the fruit of presenting ourselves as living sacrifices. (Romans 12:1) I won’t always be “in the mood” to worship the Lord, but thankfully, my soul doesn’t get to call those shots.
3. I have to feel something. This lie is characteristic of our generation, which attributes value to its affect on our five senses. We sometimes expect goosebumps or angelic lights, only to walk away wondering, “Were you paying attention to that, Lord?” The Kingdom of God is an upside down Kingdom, where, in seeking the eternal, we gain the temporal necessities for the journey (Mt. 6:33). It’s upside down in that the servant of all is the most esteemed (Mk. 9:35, 10:44). It’s upside down in that power follows faith, and not vice versa. (Mk. 16:17)
The Truth: The Lord deserves our worship whether we feel something or not! When you come away from pouring out everything to the Lord and feel empty, continue to sow into your relationship with the Lord. Galatians 6:9 promises us a harvest if we don’t grow weary! Earth’s gravitational pull resists Heaven’s summons, but as we continue to sow into our love relationship with the God of Heaven, He receives His glory and we are made more and more into His likeness.
Don’t stress about your imperfections. Don’t worry if you don’t have the burning desire. Nevermind if you don’t feel something in that moment. Just take a deep breath, burst open the doors, and jump into His lap. He’s going to love you.