Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God.
Psalm 50:23 (King James Version)
I believe that prayer, going to church, and reading the Bible are just a few of the ways that followers of Christ can worship and give praise to the Lord. However, as we do these activities we need to ask ourselves an important question. When we worship, are we really giving genuine worship?
In a previous post, I mentioned that Christians often struggle with being distracted as they worship. What I am talking about here is something far more serious. When we give praise to the Lord, do we really mean it or are our words merely lip service to Him.
In Jesus’ time, there was a group of religious leaders called the Pharisees. This Jewish sect was a stickler to Law of Moses, so much so, they even added amendments to it so that those of the faith could obey it a lot “better”. They had so much pride in their ability to keep the traditions that they made, that they usually looked down on those who fell short of their standards.
Jesus, being God in the flesh, saw right through the Pharisees’ pseudo-religious facade. While they proclaimed that they were worshiping God, their motivation to do so was not on God but was founded on their own self-image. The Pharisees wanted people to pay attention to them, they wanted others to look at their worship and say, “Now that is a true worshiper of God.”
Many Christians often fall prey to practicing a Pharisaical style of worship. They often are more concerned about what other people think as they worship and wish to be recognized for their religious activities. Such worship is displeasing in the eyes of the Lord.
When someone gives you praise for an accomplishment that you do, you usually can tell if they are genuine based on the degree of sincerity in the tone of their voice. God can tell if our worship of Him is authentic based on the sincerity of our hearts. Why is it that some people aren’t genuine in their praise to the Lord?
A lot of it has to do with intimacy. The more you know someone, the more you appreciate them and when you thank them for something they did, you mean it because you understand the cost that they had to pay to do that for you. When we have an intimate relationship with God, we begin to recognize the cost He paid in order to save us from our sins, we understand how much He loves us (even though we don’t deserve it). Once we have that understand these truths in a heart felt way and not just in a head knowledge kind of way, then our worship and thanksgiving to Him becomes more genuine.
This growth in intimacy with the Lord comes with spending more and more time with Him and truly understanding His character. That comes from frequent, undisturbed prayer and in-depth Bible study. What I am talking about is more than just a one minute quick prayer or a brief reading of a Bible verse; I am talking about a set aside time with God without distractions and with plenty of time left over to reflect on the Lord and having conversation with Him in prayer.
In this Western culture, we are always on the go. Who has time to spend it with God? Such thinking has caused us to lose a true knowing of the One who saved us. As a result our worship of Him has become shallow.
We must examine our hearts. Do we truly know the Lord who saved us? Do we truly understand and appreciate what cost Christ has paid so that we could have a relationship with God the Father? When we understand this, we become grateful for His gracious gift and worship Him with an authenticity, then we bring honor and joy to our Lord.