How To Adore God: Part 2Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer | July 18, 1999
Selected highlights from this sermon
Worship is never cheap. Sacrifice is always interwoven into worship, and we see that throughout Scripture—even as Abraham took Isaac up Mt. Moriah to sacrifice him.
Are we ready to start worshipping with substance? We need to yield to God by serving others and honoring Him through our holy behavior. And we need to ask ourselves this tough question: When we gather together to praise Him, are we focusing on what God is receiving rather than what we are getting?
May we offer ourselves up as a sacrifice of praise to God.
Let me simply say that everyone worships. The question is not whether you will worship. The question is which God will you choose to worship. Even atheists worship. They may worship themselves. They may worship their own lives. They may worship this moment of time. They may worship pleasure. But everyone worships because we are created as worshipful worshiping human beings.
Well, as you know, this is the second message in a series of two on the subject of worship, on how to adore God, and today we’re going to get very specific. But first of all let me remind you how far we have come. We learned last time that first of all worship cannot be reduced to a matter of words. You can’t say that you have worshiped just because you have come to church and because you have sung good songs. That in itself does not mean that you have worshiped. We hope that you have. I hope that I have. But it’s not automatic.
Jesus, you remember, said that these people honor me with their lips. They are singing the right songs but their hearts are far from me, He says. So it’s not just a matter of words.
Secondly, worship is not just a matter of (What shall we say?) a place. It isn’t simply a matter of saying that we’ve been to church and therefore we have worshiped. It might happen in church, but then again, it might not. And of course, as we learned last time, it’s possible to worship anywhere. Those who worship the Father must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Jonathan Edwards said on one occasion that he was riding a horse, and he got off the horse and went to a part of the forest, and he said that while he was there alone in the forest he had such a revelation of Jesus Christ, such a sense of the nearness of God, that he was overwhelmed by it. And so you can worship God anywhere.
Now we intend that it happen at a place, in a church service, but there are no guarantees. Now today we are going to learn something else about worship, and that is that worship always is costly. Worship always involves an offering. It involves sacrifice. Almost everywhere where the idea of worship occurs in the Scriptures, it talks about what we bring to God. So worship cannot possibly be a matter of words because if God is our all-satisfying object, if He is the unifying principle of our lives, if God is the One whom we adore, who becomes now the centrifugal force and drives all that we are and do, how can we possibly think that worship can be done cheaply? It cannot be.
What I’d like to do in the next few moments is to show us what worship does cost. And in order to do this, rather than preaching on one particular text, though we shall arrive at a text and stay there for a while, I would like us to simply go through the New Testament for a moment and show the passages of Scripture that talk about worship, that talk about that which is acceptable to God. And we will see that always being acceptable to God and pleasing Him in worship and service is of necessity costly because, after all, He is God and demands our all. And in order to do this in a way that hopefully we’ll be able to understand, I’d like to give you seven verbs. Do you remember what a verb is? I think you do. It’s an action word.
But now I want you to take your Bibles and we’re going to take a little tour for the next few moments, beginning in Romans 12. And you can follow along. I do not have these marked in my Bible so I have to find them just like you do.
Notice Romans 12:1-2 says, “I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” I’m reading from the New American Standard Translation, the NASV.
The first verb is yielding. That’s what worship involves. Notice that Paul says that in light of all that has gone on (He’s talking about the sovereignty of God, the inscrutable ways of God.), “I beseech you therefore brethren by these mercies that you present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.” What Paul is saying here is that either the world is going to transform us, or God is going to transform us. And he uses the imagery of the Old Testament where the lamb was put on the altar, and once that lamb was dead there on the altar, the lamb had no more plans of his own.
Now Paul says that in the very same way we should be living sacrifices, not corpses. God does not want us dead as long as we are alive, but we should be having the same dedication as the lamb. We should be placed there just as the lamb, and we should be able to say, “God, I have no more plans of my own. Here I am. I am yours completely. Everything that is of me is on the altar.”
What is it that God wants specifically? You’ll notice He wants our bodies. “Present your bodies a living sacrifice.” So we give our bodies to God. Also he wants our minds. Verse 2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We do not allow the world to push us into its mold, because we begin to think God thoughts through our meditation in the Word, through thinking about Scripture that we have read, by receiving the promises, you see. God wants my body. God wants my mind. God also wants my emotions. A little later on in this chapter Paul says in verse 15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”
Now think this through. If worship means yielding, and he says, “This is your spiritual sacrifice of worship,” how can it be that God somehow has a part of us but not all of us, and does not have our emotions too? Worship involves emotions. Worship involves gladness in the presence of God. Sometimes it is sorrow in the presence of God, but remember that worship is all that we are in God’s presence, and therefore the effective part of us, that is to say the emotional part of us, the feeling part of us, is part of the worship experience.
People go to Cubs games, and for strange reasons that have never been explained to me, they think that it should be an emotional experience. In fact, when you look at them you can see that it is, and that’s fine. But we get to church and we think that it’s wrong to feel. No, it’s not wrong to feel. It’s right to feel. Our emotions also are energized by the Spirit of God. All of us - body, soul, spirit, will and emotions - that’s what we offer to God. And the Bible says that it is our spiritual act of worship.
Now you have to understand where this message is going. It is going somewhere. We’re going to be talking about our worship service in a moment, but you see, if we’re not doing these other acts of worship, our worship when we get to church is going to be somewhat shallow and hypocritical.
So first of all there is yielding. The second verb is serving. Now we’re in the book of Romans. Look at chapter 14. You’ll notice what Paul says in verses 17 and 18. “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.” You say, “Well, where’s the worship?” Actually in Greek that word “serves” – lutreal - really means to offer homage. What he’s saying is that if you serve others with righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (and there are the emotions again) that then we are giving God homage. We are doing that which is (Look at the text.) acceptable to God.
Don’t you see how this transforms your daily life in your vocation? Remember when Elizabeth Elliot was here a number of years ago and told that story that I shall never forget. For two years she took one of the primitive languages and broke it down into writing. She had to go through all of the different words and the verb forms and everything with an informant, and when it was over (They had no Xerox machines in those days.) she had all of her research that was to be used for the translation of the New Testament in a suitcase. And the suitcase was stolen. And they looked everywhere for the suitcase and could never find it. Two years of work was gone. And someone said to her, “Were you not angry with God that you had worked for two years and it would be gone?” And she said, “That never occurred to me because,” she said, “those years that I was doing that, that was my worship to God. That was my service to God. Those years of work were done for God, not for men.” So you can steal the suitcase, but you’ll never steal the work.
Whenever I prepare a message I like to take these notes, and today they come in two parts. I will not go into reasons why that should happen, but see, sometimes I’m not as infallible as the Scriptures, so you can see all the markings. I don’t think Paul had as many markings when he wrote the book of Romans. But here is my sacrifice to God.
Whatever it is, we simply give it to Him, and we say, “Lord, I am doing this for You. Maybe other people won’t appreciate it too much, but even if they don’t, that’s really not the point ultimately. This was done for You. It is the spiritual act of worship as I serve others through the ministry of the Gospel. So the second verb is the word serving.
Let me give you a third word. It is the word winning. Now take your Bibles. You’re still in Romans, chapter 15, and you’ll notice in verses 15 and 16 it says, “But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”
What is Paul saying? He’s saying, “As I share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and people are converted, that’s part of my offering to God. You see that’s part of worship. That’s part of making God the centerpiece of my life. That’s part of what God desires, and that is well pleasing to Him that I would have a part in the salvation of people. And those people who are saved now in turn will make their own offerings and sacrifices to God.”
Today we dedicated some babies to the Lord. As these parents rear those children for the glory of God, and they come to know Christ as Savior, that is part of their spiritual active worship. That is part of their adoration of God so that when we get to heaven, those of us who are parents, and our children are there in heaven, that’s part of the offering that we are giving to God. We say, “God, we reared them for your glory despite many discouragements along the way, but we did that so that we’d have something to present to you that was acceptable.” So winning people to Christ is part of that.
Let me give you a fourth verb, and that is behaving. Now turn to Ephesians 5:7. You’ll notice it says, “Therefore do not be partakers with them (with those who are sons of disobedience, because they do all kinds of things that you shouldn’t be doing); for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn (and here’s the phrase now) what is pleasing to the Lord.” That’s part of our offering – to walk in goodness and righteousness and truth.
You know, this idea that somehow worship could be limited to words just because you sing the right songs to Paul is unthinkable. Our whole lives are to be a crescendo of worship. Our whole lives we are to ask the $64 question. “What pleases the Lord? What can we do to show that He is worthy of all of our adoration and the very depths of our being and our lives?” What can we do? Well, one thing we can do is to walk as children of light and be a credit to Him.
Let me give you another word. The word is giving. We are turning to Philippians. You’ll notice what Paul says in Philippians 4:16-17, “For even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.” Paul is saying, “Look, I could have even done without what you’ve sent me but I’m glad that you sent it to me, not so much for my benefit, but for yours.”
You know, this is a whole revolutionary concept of giving to God’s work. Most of the time we think, “I give to benefit some ministry. I give so that missionaries can go to the mission field. I give so that we can have our various programs to reach the world for Jesus Christ. And that’s why I give. I give so that people are helped.” Isn’t that the way we think?
Paul turns it around and said, “Even if there were no missionaries to send, even if there were no people with needs, it would be good for you give because of what it does to the giver.” It’s like putting money into a mutual account. “It profits,” he says, “and it’s what God does in your life because you and I are born stingy. Therefore when we give we are giving our selfishness away and we become more like Jesus.” It’s for what it does us and not just for the good that it may be to somebody else.
Verse 18: “But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.” Paul is saying that your generosity pleases God and it is an acceptable sacrifice. It’s part of your worship. That’s what worshiping is all about. You bring something and you give it to God.
You’ll notice from time to time here in the worship service when we come to receiving the offering, I will say, “Now we’re going to continue in our worship and we’re going to receive the offering,” and I venture to say that there are some of you out there who think to yourself, “Well, that’s just kind of a comfortable segue that we use to transition from singing when we’re really worshiping to giving when we’re not worshiping anymore.” No! We’ve been singing our praises and now it’s time to bring our gifts and that is worship. It is an aroma, a very beautiful imagery of the New Testament that shows that God is well pleased with this fragrance and it pleases God to see people give generously. It is a sacrifice well pleasing to God. What on earth made us think that we would worship just because we sang the right songs? Where did we get that from? Worship involves giving. There’s another verb for us.
Let me also say that worship involves praying. For this I want you to turn to 1 Timothy 2 where Paul says in verses 1-3, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” When we pray for those who are in authority, for the President, for those who are in need, and we pray for our world, and we do so, it is also something that is good and acceptable. Remember that the whole purpose of worship you see is to adore God, and to make sure that all of the spokes of our life point in His direction, and what better way can we do that except to utilize the very great wonderful privilege of prayer? And that is part of our worship, which is acceptable to God.
And now let me talk about the worship service. There’s one last passage to turn to and that is Hebrews 13. Now we finally get to the worship service, and the writer of Hebrews in verses 13 and 14 is talking about the reproach of Christ and how we should be willing to follow Him and go outside the camp and bear His reproach and be identified with Him even at great personal cost. And then he says in verse 15, “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
You’ll notice now that he begins to talk about praising. That’s the seventh verb. It’s to praise God. And, of course, we can praise God individually, but one of the reasons that we come together collectively as members of the Body of Christ is so that we can praise Him together.
What does this test teach about worship, and what should it mean in terms of our worship service? Let me give you some ideas.
First of all, notice that the writer is saying that worship should be intentional. “We come,” the text says, “to offer up a sacrifice through Christ.” Through Christ we come. Later on I hope to preach a series of messages on God, and we’ll clarify this point many times. But can you think of the irreverence there is today in the world for God with everybody thinking that they can barge into God’s presence on their own, that they can just come to God and find Him in their souls, or find Him in whatever way they possibly can? That’s not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible must always be approached properly, and you must come through Christ. Apart from that you will be turned away, because that’s the only offering that He ultimately accepts.
So we come. We don’t just come barging into the throne room of God without first of all going to the altar. We come to confess. We come to humble ourselves. We come to say with Isaiah, “Woe is me for I am undone.” We come in that spirit of repentance and humility and we come through Christ, and then we are invited to come into the throne room and to get into the very citadel and the very presence of Almighty God. That’s how we come.
You see, my friend, the altar comes before the adoration. The confession comes before the adoration of God. Now when we gathered together today in this worship service, you’ll notice that I began the service. I quoted a passage of Scripture. I reminded you that we should be quiet, that we should be in God’s presence, and we invited the presence of Jesus to be here, and we prayed in the name of Jesus.
Now I want to ask you a question. Did I do that because that’s always the way in which it’s been done since as far back as you can remember? I hope that’s not the reason. We did it because we’re serious about this. We’re not just coming to God willy-nilly on our own. We’re coming with that sense of humility, that sense of cleansing, and we come in the name of Jesus. Through Him we offer up sacrifices continually, and if Jesus did not make our own sacrifices acceptable to the Father, they would be rejected by Him. You don’t just come to God as you are without the proper way, so we come by the means of blood, you see. We come intentionally. We come with the idea that we are here to worship God.
Secondly, notice it is continual. It is intentional. It is also continual. “Through Him then let us continually offer up sacrifices to God.” How do we do that? Well, we do that in the worship service all the way through, both in the singing and in the understanding of Scripture. We come, you know, and we are of a mindset to worship the Lord our God. And then when we leave here we continue to worship, and how do we continue it? How do we do it day after day after day if we’re not in a worship service?
Let me tell you that there are two ways to do it. One is through the meditation of Scripture, which we read and we meditate on. And we read a text in the morning and we say, “Lord, what is there in here for today that I can chew on for the rest of the day?” That’s part of it. The second is we memorize the songs and we sing them to ourselves – psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. The choir has such a great advantage because they memorize words. They know these songs and throughout the whole day and throughout the whole week the songs that they are singing of adoration and praise to God keep being replayed in their minds.
That’s why, my friend, it is necessary not just to have a Bible in your hands, but to also have a hymnal in your hands. The great hymns of adoration that we just sang this morning, the hymn with which we shall close – Oh Come, Let Us Adore Him – these are songs that have to be in our minds so that long after the music has died down, and we’ve met our friends and we’ve gone home, the effects of our worship continue to tomorrow and Tuesday and Wednesday we continue the worship. Continually, the text of Scripture says we offer up the worship and the praise that is due Him. So it is intentional. It is continual. Notice it is directional. To Him we offer praise to God.
I have to ask you this: When you come to a worship service what are you thinking? What are you expecting? Are you saying to yourself, “Well, you know, I sure hope I get something out of this?” Vance Havner said that he never heard a sermon yet where he didn’t get something out of it, but he said that he’s had some mighty close calls.
We’ve all had our mighty close calls. Some of us have created those mighty close calls. So are you saying to yourself, “I wonder if the sermon is going to be good and speak to me? I wonder if I’m going to meet the people I want to meet.” Is this what it is? Well, all those things may be part of the mix but they are not the bottom line. They are not the priority. When we come to a worship service, our first thought should be, “What is God going to get out of this?” Is God going to be pleased? Is He going to be honored because finally my life and my lips have come together so that I can legitimately sing, Oh Come Let Us Adore Him because my whole life has been one of adoration to God? I know these verbs and I have worship and served, and I’ve given and I’ve yielded, and now, Lord, this is just the culmination of who I am.”
Oh what a difference that makes in our worship service. And that’s why, you see, we do not speak when we enter into the auditorium for our worship service. We can speak out in the hallways but we don’t speak here because, what if God were to show up during this time? We’re bringing an offering to the King. We’re coming into the presence of the King of kings together, and we’d better be prepared, and we’d better have our hands washed and our hearts made clean because this is important stuff. God is among His people. It’s directional, and that’s why if we have children, if we have babies, we sit near a door so that if the child cries we can exit so that we don’t disturb people because we want people to focus on God. We want people to think that this is an offering to the Almighty.
With this microphone I can’t turn around and talk to the choir but there is a rumor they hear me back there anyway. Choir, I exhort you that when you sing those lovely anthems that bless us, I exhort you to use them as an offering to God and to simply say, “This is for God.” We want people to be blessed. We want to do well, and you always do so well, but at the end of the day everything has to be God directed, and the real question is, is He pleased? Is He pleased, so that when we sing solos or sing in the choir, the question is, are we directing people to God because our own hearts are clean? It is directional.
It is purposeful. Notice what the text says, and I love this here: “Give praise to God,” that is the fruit of our lips. What imagery. What he’s saying is that when you come to give praise to God it’s because it’s a whole life that backs you up. This is just the fruit of your whole lifestyle, giving praise and thanks to His name. “In everything give thanks.”
You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, why is this a sacrifice? Why is giving praise to God a sacrifice? It’s easy. All that we do is we say a Psalm or sing a hymn that is very worshipful, that gives God praise. There’s no cost involved.”
You know, you read the Psalms and you discover something. Many of those Psalms were borne out of incredible circumstances of grief, of pain, of disappointment, of loneliness and anguish. And that’s why praise can be costly, because we’re offering this praise to God in the midst of our trials, in the midst of unanswered prayer, in the midst of all of our questions because we don’t have answers. But still we praise God, and that costs something, and therefore it’s the sacrifice of praise to God, intentionally and purposefully given to Him.
Now I need to emphasize again the connection that the Bible writers always make between the praise that comes out of our mouth and the life that we live. Notice the very next verse. “And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” He said, “By the way, the sacrifice of praise (in verse 15) is acceptable, but the sacrifice of sharing (that is to say giving) is also acceptable. And don’t you dare think that you can do one without the other.”
Let me give you some bottom lines. I hope that I’ve already made the point that worship is always costly. If it’s acceptable to God it’s costly.
One day God said, “Abraham, take your son.” Abraham said, “Alright, Lord, I’ve got two sons.” But God said, “Your only son, Isaac! Take him on Mount Moriah and offer him there for a sacrifice.” I don’t think Abraham told Sarah where he was going, but it was a three-day journey, and he got to the bottom of the hill and he said to the young man who was with him, “Look, you stay here with the donkey, and I’m going to take some wood, and my son and I are going to go to the top of the mountain.” And then Abraham said this. He said, “We will worship and come again to you.”
I say, “Abraham, you’re going to kill your boy and you are saying it’s worship.” Now apart from the ethical issue because God did not allow him to kill, the simple fact is this: God was saying to Abraham, “I want to find out whether or not I mean more to you than your son.” That’s really the whole thing that’s going on there. But Abraham says, “This excruciating act of sacrifice, of finally giving my boy to God, which is tearing out my insides, this is worship.” What made us think that we could worship just because we know how to sing or read the right Scripture?
One day David was going to buy a threshing floor from Araunah the Jebusite. And Araunah said, “Hey, look, you’re the king. You know, being king does have some perks.” He said, “I’m going to give it to you.” David said, “No way, José.” That’s a Hebrew translation. He said, “I will not offer to God something that cost me nothing.” He said, “I’m going to pay you for this.”
So we come and we say, “I worship You, Lord, and I adore You, Lord, and aren’t you wonderful, Lord?” And we think that’s the end of the deal. We worship, and it cost us nothing. We didn’t give. We didn’t pray. We didn’t yield. We didn’t try to lead anybody to Christ. We didn’t do all those things but here we were. We worship. David said, “Look, I’m not going to offer to God something that cost me nothing.”
One day there was a man in the Old Testament by the name of Job. He had ten sons. God sent, through Satan, a windstorm, which blew all the boys away. There were ten fresh graves on that hillside. Job bows down in the dust and worships and says, “The Lord gave and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” And you and I think that we can worship and it costs us nothing. Worship is costly.
Secondly, worship is transforming. It’s the thing that will change your life radically. You give God glory, you become a worshipper of God and, as we pointed out last time, you can do that no matter what your life has been like. An immoral woman sitting at the well, Jesus was inviting to be a worshiper. But here’s the thing. It is really radically transforming.
I like the words of William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury back in the forties. He said, “Both for perplexity and for dulled conscience the remedy is the same – sincerity and spiritual worship. (Wow! Are you going to be ready for this?) For worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of our conscience by His holiness, the nourishment to the mind with His truth, the purifying of the imagination by His beauty, the opening of the heart to His love, the surrender of the will to His purpose, and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable, and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness, which is our original sin, and the source of all actual sin.” Yes, worship in spirit and truth is the way to the solution of our problem with perplexity and our liberation from sin. Finally we have found the answer. We worship. The temptations rage in our body but we have a plan. We worship. We know what it’s like to sing hymns. We know what it’s like to quote Scripture. We know what it’s like to adore God, and pretty soon the desires of the flesh and of the mind begin to subside because now we have focused on the only One who can help us. We have decided that God is going to be the focal point of our life, and all of our life is going to be God directed. We are going to be God intoxicated, filled to the fullness of God.
I like to tell that story that Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about little Ernest. Do you remember it? It’s entitled The Great Stone Face and it goes this way.
There was a village set on a hill and on the other side of a long valley there were some stones thrown together in a mountain in such a way that it really looked like the face of a man. As people looked at that man, that stone face, it looked so kind and so gentle. So there was a rumor in the village that someday a man would show up in the village who looked like the great stone face. Little Ernest heard the rumor from his mother and was absolutely enamored by that great stone face, and would actually sit on a rock and look across the valley hour after hour, staring at the great stone face.
Many people came through the village and every time someone came of significance people said, “Aha, he’s the one who resembles great stone face.” A poet came and they all said, “He must be the one.” A philosopher came and they said, “He must be the one.”
Ernest was so excited to try to find the person who looked like the great stone face, but no one qualified. One day, as an old man, Ernest was standing along a hill, speaking to the townspeople, and as they saw him silhouetted against the mountain they saw the resemblance. Indeed he was the one who looked like the great stone face.
“But we all with open face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed from one degree to another degree of glory, even by the Lord, the Spirit.” Why? It’s because our focus us on Him, and we absorb all that God is. But here’s the secret, friend! Some of you have got a long valley to look beyond to see God, don’t you? As long as we are looking at that valley, as long as we’re thinking of all the fights that take place, as long as we think of the enemies that are crouched around us, as long as we’re preoccupied by this business that we call earning a living and this becomes all-consuming, we have no time for God.
I ask you today in weakness, I ask today of those of you whose faith seems to be so small, don’t stare at the valley because we become whatever we stare at. You look at God and you’ll discover that Archbishop Temple was right. Yes, worship in spirit and truth is the way of the solution for our perplexities, and from our liberation of sin. Through Him, then, let us continually (not just on Sunday, but let us do it well on Sunday) offer up a sacrifice of praise to God that is the fruit of the lips and give thanks to His name. And let us do good and let us share, for with such sacrifices, God is well pleased. If you and I ever learn how to worship, it’ll take all that we are and all that we have, but God, needless to say, is worth it.
Father, we are so selfish. We are so self-absorbed. Forgive us, Father, for thinking that we could somehow worship You because we use the right styles in music, or because we said the right words in a prayer, or because we uttered the words of praise from the Psalms. Help us to understand that worship is a whole series of commitments, that worship becomes the consuming force of our life 24 hours a day. We don’t know that, Lord, so teach us it and make us dissatisfied until we have learned it. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.