PSALM 48:9 – We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE STRONGEST MOTIVATOR FOR WORSHIP. When it comes to worship, our Lord Jesus told us the criteria for it to be acceptable to God. He said, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:22-24). In our Lord’s words, let’s recognize two things about acceptable worship.
First, worship is initiated by God the Father – “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” We don’t create worship or the environment for worship. I was in a church service one time when a statement from the pulpit went like this, “We are going to dim the lights now to enhance our setting for worship.” That struck me as not only odd but lacking any Biblical merit. Worship isn’t created or enhanced by any man-made environment. Whether from light shows, certain type of music setting, or any other physical alteration, worship occurs when the presence of the Holy God is known. And how will we know this is happening? Humility, holiness, and His fear. True worship is initiated by God making Himself known and it will always produce worshippers who are made low, overwhelmed by His brilliant holiness, and gripped by His fear because they are in the Presence of Him who is so not like themselves.
Another element in true worship is it will be offered in spirit and truth – God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. What does that mean? To worship in “spirit” is to be sincere. And the way to know our worship together on the Lord’s Day is sincere is to have been a worshipper all the days prior to Sunday. If we are not worshippers of the true God in the course of our daily lives, we will not be sincere on the day of the week we gather with other believers to worship. Sincerity in the Christian life, and particularly worship, starts in private to be shared in public. If not, it is hypocrisy, not worship in spirit and truth. The second application of Jesus’ words about worship being in spirit and truth is that it must be rooted in truth – His Word. And how would we know this truthful worship is occurring? The Bible and Christ will be in the center of the worship. It won’t be centered on the worshipper’s experience, feelings, or expression. In true worship, self is removed and God, God alone, takes center and only stage in the worship scene.
So, Jesus defines for us true worship, but what is a strong motivator leading us to such worship? It is found in today’s scripture. The Psalmist enters the temple for worship with what on his heart and mind? The steadfast love of God. Here is the fuel for worship. Here is what sustains worship in spirit and truth. It is not how much we love God. Don’t go there for we don’t love Him enough and that never promotes true worship. It is losing ourselves in how much He loves us that enables us to worship Him properly. In thinking on His love, everything is focused on His Person, His character, and work of salvation. Such thinking allows us to remove the greatest hindrance to worship in spirit and truth; a focus on ourselves. May God help us learn to worship in spirit and truth that is motivated by Him and His love for us, not some man manufactured environment that may be more idolatry than worship.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to focus on Your love for me which leads me to worship in spirit and truth.”
QUOTE: “If we want to love God more, then think more on His love for us.”