The more I have grown and learned about worship, the more I have realized that worship is way more than the songs we sing and the hands we raise. The biggest indicator of our worship to God is not found in a multitude of words, songs, or postures. Rather, the biggest indicator of our worship comes from a life of obedience to His Word.
First John 5:3 (NIV) tells us, “This is love for God: to keep His commands.” If we sing about our love for God but intentionally live in disobedience, our words are empty. We worship God by obeying Him. We obey Him by obeying His Word and those He has placed in authority over us. For this reason, we can see that worship is more than just singing. Worship is a lifestyle.
Colossians 3:23 (NIV) tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” We worship God in everything we do! Thus, our singing should be an outflow of a life of worship! We must not talk the talk if we are not willing to walk the walk. I believe the Lord takes this very seriously.
In Amos 5:23 (NIV), the Lord said, “Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” He said this because the people were praising God with their lips, yet their hearts were far from Him. You see, songs to God out of impure hearts are just a bunch of noise: noise that God refuses to listen to. What good is it to sing these songs if we don’t really mean it? What good is it to raise our hands if we aren’t taking time with God seriously?
Jesus addressed the Pharisees on this issue as well. He said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:27–28, NIV). My concern is that it has become way too easy for us to fall into the same trap as the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. We have become really good at making ourselves look good on the outside. But God sees our hearts.
What sins are we intentionally holding on to that are hindering the effectiveness of our worship? I’m not talking about the occasional sin or mistake. I’m talking about ongoing, habitual sin that we really have no intention of changing. How can we say we worship God when we’re living like the world? What are our motives? Where are our hearts at? God wants ALL of me. He wants ALL of you. He doesn’t just want our songs; He wants our lives. Will we give that to Him?