Today's focus was on worship that pleases God. Many wonder what denomination has it right, what style is most authentic, why some churches do this and others do that. Well, before today, my answer would have been, "God created us differently, so there are different denominations and worship styles to accommodate those differences." And while I think this position is still valid, today's study is helping me to refine it.
1. First of all, in the book of John, Jesus explains that the time, place, and style of worship is not as important as WHY you worship.
2. And yet, the bible says that there is a right and a wrong way to worship. Jesus says that the first commandment is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30) And in John, He says that, "True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth..." (John 4:23)
What does that mean?
1. To worship in TRUTH: We cannot just create our own comfortable or politically correct image of God. That is idolatry.
2. We must recognize that we are a spirit that resides in a body and worship is our SPIRIT communicating with God.
3. If worship is MINDless, it is meaningless, "vain repetitions," using the words found in First Samuel. We were given a mind, and we are expected to use it to think, be specific, to ponder.
4. And when Jesus said, "with all your STRENGTH," he is recognizing that it takes effort and energy. It is part of being a willing, living sacrifice.