The Way I See It, A Pastor’s Perspective

Southaven, MS

What is worship to you? What is your worship like? Is worship something you do on Sunday mornings amidst a Congregation of other people, all standing upright in obedience as they dutifully look at the Overheads on display? Is it three songs; one peppy and up-tempo, followed by two slower songs? Do you think that pleases the Father? Is that what Jesus referred to in the gospel of John?

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.””
‭‭John‬ ‭4:23,24‬

The truth is, worship is not just an act we perform on Sunday morning. Worship that pleases the Father is continual devotion and adoration that comes from the heart and that evolves into a Lifestyle.

Worship is walking in an attitude of worship throughout any day of the week, being in love with the Person who is the object of that worship.

Unfortunately, we in the Bible Belt have been taught to fear God, for He is a holy God who will not tolerate our sin! No wonder we then have a hard time drawing near to a God who may strike us dead for what we did last night! We are preached to about a God of wrath, the one in the Old Testament, and that His wrath will be poured out in His judgement against our miserable lives! And that only Jesus is holding Him back from turning us into charcoal briquettes right there on the pew!
We are taught that the end result of our wretched and sinful lives will be the hellfire and brimstone that deservedly awaits us, and we will only get into heaven by the skin of our teeth. And even if we aren’t preached that, we sometimes think it on our own!
No wonder we worship from afar, and sing (whether we can or not) so enthusiastically, hoping all the while He won’t strike us dead right where we stand!
Or even worse, we spend all our worship time confessing our sins of the past week or thanking Him for saving our wretched souls from what punishment we truly deserve!

Trust me, it should never be like that! Worship should be intimate. It should be a tender act of love directed toward Him. After all, worship is not about us! It’s not about our being saved!
Our songs of worship and our prayers during worship should be about the wonder of who He is, and not about us at all. True worship is focused on Him and His attributes!! It’s about your sensing the greatness of His power and authority, and the depth of His abundant lovingkindness! It’s about recognizing the mercy and grace He freely bestows on us all!

Matt Redman wrote a song back in the late nineties that typifies this heart of worship we should be striving for….

“I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus”

It truly IS all about Him! We’ve made it about us as we sing loudly of how we’ll “fly way some glad morning” and “we’ll have Mansions” and “there’ll be gold streets to dance on” and how we’ll be “reunited with our loved ones” and on and on! We’ve stolen the worship service that should have been devoted to Him, being in awe of Him and His abundant love! We taken that portion of our Sunday morning service and used it to proclaim how great heaven will be for US, or how WE have been delivered from our wretched past! Yes, it’s important to have a heart of gratitude for His saving us, but that is not worship, that is praise!
To worship in spirit as Jesus mentioned is to be totally focused on Him! It’s being in love with Him and using your worship to express that love!

Look at it this way….if you wrote a song about your spouse or significant other, and each verse talked about you and how much better your life is because of what they have done for you, is that really a song about them? Does it speak of how you admire them as a person? Isn’t that just a song about you? Does that song mention their beauty or their attributes or their character? Not really. It’s just talking about you and your blessed life. The song that will win their heart is the one that focuses on them! It’s no different for the Lord. Songs and choruses and prayers they are about Him are truly the style of worship we should be creating!
Even if your Worship Director continues to select songs that are about you and the wondrous eternal life awaiting you, just close your eyes and began to focus on the Lord, praying to yourself while showering Him with your adoration. You may experience far more of His presence; you may very well experience the intimacy that can only come from the Father loving on His child! That intimacy comes when we pour out our love on Him and lose sight of our own petty problems!
If you’ll put forth the effort to truly worship Him, you will be surprised how refreshing your worship time can be, and how you won’t want it to ever end! The best part? It doesn’t have to end. It’s a new lifestyle you’ve developed that has you walking with Him all the day long as you worship the wonder of who He is!

Michael Upchurch
Chaplain, Team RFC
Racers For Christ