June 28, 2012

Worship is not about self-expression.

[I want to make clear that this is strictly an opinion post, and one that I don’t hold near and dear to my heart. Just some thoughts I had this evening that I thought I would flesh out.]

Not: “Self-expression is impertinent to worship.”
Not: “Worship should be stoic.”
Just: Worship is not (primarily) about self-expression. That’s all.
The condition of my heart is not central to worship (I mean true worship of Jehovah, the God of Jesus Christ). The center of worship is the truth about God. I don’t say that God doesn’t care what’s in my heart right now, or that we should not tell God about it. And if worship is in my heart, then worship will come out. Still, though, the question for worship is not: “What is my heart feeling right now?” The real questions are: 1)”What is true about God?” and 2)”Does He deserve praise for that truth?” (the second answer will always be “yes”). I look at Job, and see a man who praised God for who He was, even while he was groaning near to death. I don’t really think that Job was bubbling with happiness for the joy of life. But he knew who God was, and he believed it with all his heart. He praised God even when he didn’t feel like it. Some might say that, in spite of his circumstances, Job did feel like offering up a heartfelt song of praise. I don’t think so. Job was at a time in his life when everything stunk, but it didn’t change the truth about God. That was why he could say (paraphrased) “even if he kills me, I will still praise Him.” We may face times like that too, but our God is as unchangeable now as he was then (think about that one).
So before you write a nasty comeback, let me hedge a bit. I do think the nature of our worship will be affected by our heart’s mood, but it is imperative that we realize the preeminence of God in our worship. The condition of the heart will follow the truth we believe. When we sing praise to God, it sets our heart in the tune of His grace. Sometimes we try to make the tail wag the dog.

Am I right?

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