..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Monday, January 22, 2007

True Worship & False Worship: Part 3 -Simulated Worship?

"Any man may play his part in
the mummery, and act the honest
man of the scaffolding: but to
be right within, in his own
bosom, where all is allowed,
where all is concealed--there's
the point!"--Michel de Montaigne

In keeping with the idea that worship
always has, at its heart, giving my
best to God, we have to look at whether
what I am giving is genuine, and even
more, whether I myself am genuine.

I can look the part as a Christian,
I can sing, bow my head, depending on
my church, shout, jump, kneel, raise
my hands, do any outward action, but
it all matters not if I, myself, am
not right. I can look like a
diamond but just be a piece of
broken glass or a man-made concoction.

God, through the prophets, rejected
the sacrifices that He himself had
ordered to be brought because people's
hearts were not right (Amos 5:21-24).
Am I just going through the motions?
I may stand with my arms outstretched
in surrender to God but is the deepest
part of me clutching, clutching,
clutching all that I hold dear tightly
to myself?

You see, we can simulate worship. We
can make it look just right. But God
knows if it is right. This does not
mean that we always have to have just
that right feeling to accompany our
worship. Worship is about abandonment
and surrender, not about feeling right.

I may not feel like entering into the
more external aspects that may accompany
worship. I may not feel like singing. I
may not feel like clapping. But they really
are just props to focus my inner being
on Him anyway.If the props fail go straight
for Him inwardly and your voice and hands
will catch up!

Is it wrong to encourage myself to sing
and clap when I don't "feel" it? No, actually
quite the contrary, but it is wrong
to close the door of my heart and just
go through the motions.

If I am a mess, then I need to offer
myself, in my disheveled state, to
God without holding anything back.
Shame, or false shame, might cause me
to think that God does not want to
see me in my slovenly state. Do you
think He does not already see you?
Will not His cleansing Blood prevail
in tenderly wiping away the stains
on your soul? Although covered with
dirt, there is a pearl of great price
that He receives in your surrender.

Personally, I think I've learned the
most about God and myself, when I come
to Him a complete wreck. It is then
I am not tempted to blur the distinction
between who He is and who I am. I am
not a believer in the "fake it til you
make it" school of theology. "I come to
God and He gives me grace or I die" is
more my take on things! He promises,
however, not to turn away a broken and
contrite heart.

True worship, from a broken and contrite
heart, will result in God lifting you
quickly out of the gutter of your
self. For as soon as God sees a right
heart, He is drawn toward it, and draws
such a one under the shelter of His wings.

It is foolish to offer God what we,
with our human ideas, think might
please Him. Jesus said, "they who
worship must worship in Spirit and in
truth" (John 4;24). God is not required
to accept or acknowledge our worship
if it is on our own terms and does not
proceed from His Spirit.

God knows the difference between real and
simulated worship without blinking, because
He knows His own Spirit! Real worship is
the Holy Spirit entwined with our spirit,
calling and connecting with the inmost Spirit
of the Father and the Son. It is deep
calling unto deep and like calling unto like.
It is not man made and not of the flesh.

There is legend in Hebraic and Christian
literature that a cord was tied around
the leg of the high priest when he entered
into the Holy of Holies so that if he
was struck dead because something was
amiss in him then he could be dragged
out of the Holy of Holies. Perhaps we
should all tie a rope around our legs
as we worship to remind us that our
encounter with God is an encounter with
Holiness and must be on His terms.

Worship is about what is hidden in
our hearts showing itself to God.
We can play our part, we can fool
others, but we can't fool God. Jesus
warns those who clean the outside but
do not clean the inside. Only what is
born of His Spirit is true and holy
and acceptable to God.

Allow God to have a look with you
at your innermost being for out of
it proceeds your worship. Do not be
afraid if all is not as it should
be. A bruised reed He will not
break off--if it is brought to Him
He will fix it. He longs to fix it.
But do not try to offer Him something
less than what He is willing to accept.

Is your worship real or simulated?

Adj. 1. simulated- not genuine or real; being an imitation of the genuine article; synonyms: faux, imitation, fake, false
artificial, unreal - contrived by art rather than nature; "artificial flowers"; "artificial flavoring"; "an artificial diamond"; "artificial sweeteners"
2. simulated - reproduced or made to resemble; imitative in character;
imitative - marked by or given to imitation;

1 comment:

Satire and Theology said...

A good article, thanks. Worship seemingly is more about acknowledging that there is no greater pleasure and honour than knowing the true God of the Bible, than it is feeling right.