Point to Ponder: God wants all of us.
Insight “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7
God doesn’t want part of our life. He asked for all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. God is not interested in half-hearted commitment, partial obedience, and the leftovers of our time and money.
How do we please God? By worshiping Him. Where we worship is not as important as why we worship and how much of ourselves we offer to God when we worship.
1. God is pleased when our worship is accurate – Worship must be based on the truth of Scripture, not our opinions about God. To worship in “truth” means to worship God as He truly is revealed in the Bible.
2. God is pleased when our worship is authentic – We are made in God’s image, we are a spirit that resides in a body, and God designed our spirit to communicate with Him. Worship is our spirit responding to God’s spirit. Heartless praise is not praise at all! It is worthless, an insult to God!
God doesn’t want showmanship or pretense or phoniness in worship. He wants our honest, real love. We can worship God imperfectly, but we cannot worship insincerely. Many forms of worship are mentioned in the bible, among them confessing, singing, shouting, standing in honor, kneeling, dancing, making joyful noise, testifying, playing musical instruments, and raising our hands.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to worship and friendship with God. We don’t bring glory to God by trying to be someone God never intended us to be. God wants us to be ourselves. Since we were created differently, people draw to God in different ways.
Gary Thomas, author of the book Sacred Pathways identifies 9 different ways people draw near to God according to they were created. We have the naturalist inspired to love God by the outdoors. Sensates love God with their senses. Traditionalists draw close to God through rituals, liturgies, symbols and unchanging structures. Ascetics prefer to love God in solitude and simplicity. Activists love God through battling injustice and working to make the world a better place. Caregivers love God by loving others and meeting their needs. Enthusiasts love God through celebration. Contemplatives love God through adoration and Intellectuals love God by studying with their minds.
3. God is pleased when our worship is thoughtful – God is not pleased with thoughtless singing of hymns, perfunctory praying of clichés, or careless exclamations of “Praise the Lord,” because we can’t think of anything else to say at the moment. If worship is mindless, it is meaningless!
4. God is pleased when our worship is practical – Give God what you have in body, spirit and soul! In worship we “offer our bodies as living sacrifices.” Real worship costs. King David said: “I will not offer to the Lord my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing.” God is pleased with different sacrifices of worship such as: thanksgiving, praise, humility, repentance, offerings of money, prayer, serving others, and sharing with those in need.
One thing worship costs us is our self-centeredness. We cannot exalt God and ourselves at the same time. Worship takes effort and energy. It’s not always convenient or comfortable, and sometimes worship is a sheer act of the will—a willing sacrifice.
My thoughts: I read this chapter in the morning and it took me a while to digest all I read. It gave me a new perspective on worship that pleases God. Then I set myself to have time with God.
This morning was a cold morning and I was struggling to get my thoughts on God. It has been an emotional week. As I sat in bed looking out my window, I waited to get the right words to start worshiping God. I sat there for a while and nothing came out, I was blank. All of the sudden I said, “Lord I need you. I need to feel your presence. I don’t know what words to say this morning but I know my heart wants to worship you. Lord, I am humbling myself to you this morning and I ask that you will let me come into your presence.” The act of humbling myself to God allowed me to come into His presence to worship. What a glorious moment!