Be Real When You Worship
By Hon. Snr. Evang. Prosper Awosika, December 14th, 2002
How many times have we heard people say they do not attend any church because it is not meaningful to them? Ironically, we get out of worship what we invest in it. But not everyone who finds worship empty of meaning, drops out of the church. Some keep coming, regularly or irregularly, for whatever reasons. Does one worship God because He is the Holy One who ought to be loved and praised? Does one worship God for the emotional thrill of warmth that comes from being in his presence? Does one worship God in order to be seen worshiping God? Some people even drag their bodies to worship, but their mind is in another world. Some listen with half ear, some sing, halfheartedly, and some even plan their next weeks work while the Word of God is being taught. If we give nothing to God when we worship, we get nothing back. In order to insure that our worship is fresh and meaningful, we must put three things under serious consideration - before, during, and after the worship hour.
A. Before Worship
We should give our minds to our worship long before we arrive at the place of worship. We ought to prepare ourselves, so that when we arrive, our worship will be deliberate, grateful and heartfelt. The gospel of John says, "But the hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him" (John 4:23). He is offended when our worship is casual and or haphazard. There are several examples of careless worship mentioned in the bible. In Leviticus 15, God warns the Israelites not to come to the Tabernacle to worship when they are unclean and have not prepared themselves, "lest they die in their uncleanness when they defile my Tabernacle" (V. 31). God's holiness demands that we prepare ourselves to worship and that we do not take it casually. If our worship is going to be faithful, it must begin long before we arrive in the House of the Lord.
There are a number of steps we can take in preparation for our worship of God. First, we mush anticipate the hour. Second, we ought to pray for the hour of worship, this is why we sanctify and pray before the beginning of every service. It is interesting that some people get a lot from every worship experience, while others seldom appreciate the privilege they have of worshiping the Lord.
Why is it that one person is moved by God during a worship service, while another complains about not being fed? We should be able to worship God and have a fresh encounter with Him even if the organ is broken or the choir on vacation. Third, we need to prepare our selves physically. I do not know how someone who is physically exhausted, emotionally distracted, or mentally preoccupied with events in their lives, on Sunday morning, can worship God in mind, in body, or in spirit? We should also be prudent about how we spend our Saturday evenings because we want to be ready to worship God.
B. During Worship
Kind Solomon has some strong words for the person who has come to worship in a casual fashion -- draw near to hear rather than utter anything hastily before God, for God is in heaven, and you on earth. Therefore, let your words be few (Eccl. 5:1-3). This means we should come with open, tender hearts. Come with listening ears. Don't come to tell God what to do. We can tell God what we want, but we must come near to listen to Him. That is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools (v. 1) Let us not be hasty when we pray or else we pray with insincerity. Let us remember that there is a time for everything. A time to worship should be the time to worship. (Read Eccl. 3:1)
C. After Worship
How many times have we heard someone put down the hypocrites in church? Where else should we like to see them? The hypocrites should be in the church. However, hypocrisy is a serious issue in the church. Probably, most Christians have heard more on the subject than we care to hear. King Solomon had something important to say about hypocritical worship. When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it, for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed. It is better not to vow than to vow and not pay. (eccl. 5:4-5) We are not to delay in paying our vows. "Delay" is the keyword here. No one makes a vow with the intention of breaking it, but it is easy to make our vows, walk out of the place of worship, and put them aside, assuming we will fulfill them later. But all too easily tomorrow becomes next week, and next week becomes next month, and next month becomes next year, or never. The consequence is that we live defeated lives because we made vows to God and have not kept them. This is human weakness. But if we abstain from vowing, it shall not be a sin to us. That which we have vowed, we should keep and perform, for we voluntarily vowed to the Lord our God what we have promised with our mouth. We would be better off not to make any vows than to make them and start looking for excuses to avoid them. Let us please remember what happened to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5: 1 -11.
It is a great privilege we have to worship God. It is also a serious business. We ought to come with hearts that are prepared. We ought to be sober in the commitments we make. We ought to do what we promise God we will do. This is what God expects from true worship.
Finally, when we live the House of God, do we go back to bite the fingers that feed us? Do we present our selves as good ambassadors of our church? Let us all search our minds very well about this issue, for it would have been better not to worship at all, than to worship and to go back to say evil things where we worship. Let us all fear God and keep His commandments.
My prayer to all, is that may God show and teach us Himself how to worship Him in truth and in spirit. Amen.
God Bless You,
Hon. Snr. Evang. Prosper Awosika
Dallas Metro Parish, Grand Prairie, Texas, USA
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